No date yet for when St Brigid’s in Carrick-on-Suir will resume respite services

St Brigid's Hospital, Carrick-on-Suir | Google Maps

“Unsatisfactory and vague” is how a local TD has described the answer he got to questions around the future of St Brigid’s Hospital in Carrick-on-Suir.

Jackie Cahill had requested an update from the HSE as to when it would return to use as a place of respite.

When the pandemic began here, it was re-assigned as a step-down hospital for those recovering from COVID-19, however the demand hasn’t been as high as was predicted.

Speaking on Tipp Today, Deputy Cahill says there’s no certainty in the health service at the moment:

“They have given no date. And this applies to the whole health service at the moment. To the private hospitals in Clonmel and Nenagh, we see waiting lists are being extended the whole time.

“We have a roadmap for the opening of businesses. We now need a roadmap for when the health service is going to resume what we would call normal activities.

“We have a situation at the moment where the private hospitals are being paid for by the exchequer and they’re actually lying idle at the moment.”

The full answer Deputy Cahill received from the HSE is as follows:

Q: What is happening with St. Brigid’s Hospital?

A – St. Brigid’s Hospital provides convalescent, respite and palliative care and is registered with the independent regulatory body Health Information & Quality Authority (HIQA) to accommodate up to 16 residents. In the current Covid-19 pandemic public health emergency, St. Brigid’s has been designated as a “step down” Covid-19 care facility to serve the South Tipperary area.

The demand for such Covid-19 care step down beds at St. Brigid’s has reduced in recent weeks. There is a critical requirement for staff elsewhere in community healthcare services at this time and admission to St. Brigid’s has been temporarily suspended. Admissions for step down Covid-19 related care at St. Brigid’s will resume when required. Indications, per the specialist public health advice, are that Covid-19 pandemic measures will remain in place for an undefined time to come. The HSE are committed to ensuring that that the South Tipperary area is adequately served with a series of measures for the duration of this action, including the availability of a Covid-19 step down care facility such as that at Carrick on Suir should it be required. Consequently, the HSE is not in the position to advise when St. Brigid’s might resume operation as a community hospital. The HSE has confirmed that continued provision is in place for the delivery of convalescent, respite and palliative care services to patients that require it in the South Tipperary area.