Taoiseach says he is aware of local concerns about Nenagh Community Nursing Unit

Nenagh Hospital. Photo © Tipp FM

Opposition to controversial HSE plans to use the new community nursing unit in Nenagh as a step-down facility has been raised in the Dáil.

The state of the art facility adjacent to Nenagh Hospital had originally been earmarked for residents of St Conlon’s home.

A major protest is planned for Nenagh this Saturday in a bid to have the decision reversed.

Yesterday local TD Alan Kelly highlighted a commitment given by Taoiseach Simon Harris in the Dáil last month that the HSE would engage directly the Labour Deputy while the HSE say they have engaged with staff and residents families

“None of those three things have happened – nada, zilch – none. I can verify that. In fact statements from the union have verified that too.

“So considering none of that has happened and there’s a protest now on this Saturday what is the Government and the HSE going to do to ensure that this nursing home – which is deserving by the people of that area who paid their taxes and worked hard – is given to them?”

Deputy Michael Lowry also called for action from the Taoiseach on the matter.

The existing St Conlon’s unit has been deemed unfit for purpose by the Health Information and Quality Authority.

Michael Lowry pointed towards a compromise proposal which had been put to the HSE.

“Under this proposal the upper floor of the new unit would facilitate the transfer and cater for the 23 patients and staff at the existing St Conlon’s Home. The other 24 beds on the ground floor would be repurposed on a temporary basis as step-down beds to ease congestion in Limerick.

“The unions and their members have put the HSE on notice that they will not cooperate with the transfer of patients from UHL unless the new unit has an interim dual purpose role. The HSE are resisting this proposal.”

For his part Taoiseach Simon Harris accepted that there were concerns in Nenagh over the decision to use the new CNU to alleviate overcrowding in UHL.

He gave a commitment to engage with the Health Minister on the issue.

“There’s two issues here – there’s obviously a very serious and acute issue in University Hospital Limerick that everybody in this house and most particularly Deputies in the Mid-West want to see progress on, we all know that.

“And then obviously there’s the very strong views of the people of Nenagh in relation to the Community Nursing Unit. I know the proposals put forward are very much on an interim basis – as a step down sub-acute rehabilitation facility. It is very much I want to reiterate again an interim basis but I do know the strength of feeling that there is in Nenagh to this.”