Worry over lack of action at St. Joe's

Hubert Murphy

Published 25/12/2013 | 05:28

A €750,000 improvement project at St Joseph's Hospital in Ardee should be implemented, hand in hand, with the building of a new school on nearby lands, the hospital action group has stated.

'The Educate Together School will be built in the grounds adjoining St. Joseph's in 2014. Where is the joined up thinking that both projects, funded by the tax payer, are not being co-ordinated to best make use of the combined budgets for the contractors, and building equipment?,' chairman of the Save St. Joseph's group John Rafferty asked.

The group are concerned that work on the hospital has not started, a worry that could see them contesting the local elections in 2014.

'It would not be prudent at this point to confirm or deny the possibility or running a candidate in the 2014 County Council elections,' the chairman said.

'We will review all the potential opportunities available to us, including the possibility of running an independent candidate(s) in the next local elections, as we would not expect the political members of the committee to compromise their allegiance to their party,' secretary Kevin Bailey said.

The lack of contact from the HSE has been deafening, the group said.

'The committee has received absolutely no communication from the HSE or our politicians in six months. No plan has been outlined, nothing has been done. The residents and staff remain in Limbo. Meanwhile the HSE and Minister Reilly act like ostriches ignoring the demographic time-bomb of the huge increase in population of elderly persons, already stated by the CSO,' the chairman said.

'The facts are these: since the callous and irrational threatened closure of St. Joseph's and The Cottage were leaked to the media in November 2011, the cottage has learnt its fate, while on the other hand political gain is sought for the apparent "saving of St. Joseph's". The real story is much more depressing. Respite care has been farmed-out to the private sector, a full ward closed, half a dozen staff re-deployed. The Director of Nursing retired, and her position left unfilled,' a group statement added.

'The paper-promise of a €750,000 investment is half of what was calculated to make St. Joseph's HIQA compliant. The HSE Operations Manager Willie McAllister has rode-off into the sunset, joining the Private health care system, and the consultation process project manager has finished her secondment and moved onto pastures new.'

Drogheda Independent

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