Mount Carmel Hospital may yet be turned into a publicly-owned facility, providing long-stay beds and rehabilitation for older people.
Health Minister James Reilly revealed yesterday that the Health Service Executive (HSE) was examining the possibility of purchasing the former private Dublin hospital that was forced to close recently after NAMA stopped bankrolling it following an accumulation of losses.
Dr Reilly told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children that the former hospital which provided maternity and general care – and is now in liquidation – was being assessed by HSE officials.
It may re-open with a combination of nursing beds and rehabilitation facilities that would provide physiotherapy and occupational therapy for mostly elderly patients.
However, the 328 staff in the former hospital are still being made redundant and any re-opening would involve a new round of recruitment".
Philip McAnenly, industrial relations office in the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, said that the 328 redundancies would cost the taxpayer around €6-€8m in compensation costs.
He added: "Due to the current moratorium on recruitment in the public service, the staff has little, or no, prospect of gaining employment.
"The 328 workers will apply for Jobseekers' allowance and at conservative estimate this will result in a cost of €4m per year to the public finances."