Worrying impasse to works at St Oliver's
While the €1.5million upgrading and renovating of facilities at St Oliver Plunkett Community Hospital is both welcome and necessary to meet health and safety standards set out by HIQA it is very worrying to hear of the position in regard to stage four of the works.
Stages one, two and three of the works are complete or nearing completion and stage four is centred on the dementia unit which accommodates a number of patients at higher risk and in need of more care than the other three units.
During the various stages patients in St Oliver's have been moved around the hospital, but it is understood that this solution is not possible in relation to the patients in the dementia unit, as temporary works costing €100,000 would be needed to safely accommodate the patients elsehwhere in St Oliver's for the duration of the work.
Only a fraction of this €100,000 would be able to be recouped when the renovations to the dementia unit were complete and the patients were able to return to the unit.
The HSE originally suggested that the patients would be moved to private nursing care outside of St Oliver's, however the Friends of St Oliver's Forum questioned whether this was in the best interests of the patients and was also best value for money for the HSE and would not actually be more expensive than the €100,000 cost of temporary works in St Oliver's.
The Forum has indicated that they were willing to fundraise €30,000 to offset the cost of the temporary works and this offer is under consideration by the HSE as they seek a solution to the issue.
A second suggested solution of using wards at Louth County Hospital was also not deemed as a solution.
With stage four of the works due to commence in the coming weeks it is imperative that a satisfactory solution is found that puts patients welfare first.
It is a worrying time for the relatives of patients and residents in the dementia unit and while the work is required and will cause some distruption it must be kept to a mimimum.