OVER a dozen beds currently lie empty in Killarney Community Hospital because of a failure to meet HIQA standards and the HSE says they will remain unoccupied for another three months.
Essential maintenance works in line with HIQA's fire and safety regulations had been identified at Killarney Community Hospital and they require the temporary closure of 13 beds in the District ward to facilitate the completion of the work.
The work, which included electrical and fire door upgrades as well as painting, was due to have started already but a delay in the tendering process has stalled the project.
The HSE this week said a contractor will be on site from next week and the work will be done in two phases to complete the refurbishment of two multi-occupancy bedrooms and three single bedrooms and associated sanitary facilities.
"The refurbishment work is now due for completion in mid to late February, taking in account the Christmas holiday period, and it is the intention that the beds currently decommissioned will be reopened at that time," a HSE spokesperson said this week.
Cllr Danny Healy Rae said the delay showed a distinct lack of interest on behalf of the HSE.
"This is the winter and older people are regularly hospitalised for flus or otherwise, so it is disgraceful that 13 beds will be closed until February and there are no guarantees that they will even be ready by then," he said.
The councillor also raised concerns over delays in six long stay beds in Kenmare Community Hospital which he claimed were due to open in September.