HSE to study plans for St. Joseph's
THE initial plan for the re-development programme for St Joseph's Ardee into a modern 20-bed long stay facility is now being submitted to the HSE architects to progress to acquire planning permission, local TDs Minister Fergus O'Dowd and Gerald Nash TD have said.
'Once these plans have been finalised by the HSE architects they will be available to staff, residents and their families in the first instance and then for wider viewing after this point. The HSE remain committed to completing the re-development of St Joseph's to the level required to meet the HIQA 2015 standards.'
Once planning permission is received, it is expected that the construction phase will take approximately 12 months from the procurement of the works. It is expected that the building phase will be commenced by December of this year.
'It is planned that the refurbishment will be completed by the end of 2015, if there are no significant delays with regard to planning permission and requirements relating to the conservation status of the building. We have campaigned tirelessly at the highest level to help facilitate a solution to the issues facing St Joseph's, and, although it has been a difficult process, we feel that we have achieved the best possible outcome, and are close to seeing it come to fruition,' they added.
'The future of St Joseph's was secured thanks, in part, to magnificent work on behalf of the staff at the hospital who have worked with the HSE and stakeholders in terms of reducing costs.'
While welcoming any positive news about the St Joseph's project, the chairman of the action group to save it, John Rafferty, feels the pressure must be maintained to make sure the HSE and politicians deliver on their promises.
'This is not about election gimmicks or 'good news stories', this had to be bricks and mortar,' he stated.
'The most important people in all of this are those in St Joseph's and their families.'
He said the group remain open to any discussions those in authority may require to help further the project.
'We have said in the past that we are concerned that it took so long from the announcement that St Joseph's was saved to now, and work still hasn't started.'
There have been reports that the group will put up a candidate to stand in the forthcoming local elections to fight the cause of the hospital.