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Cork TD critical of respite bed shortage which ‘means people can’t leave hospital’

Deputy Sean Sherlock says the lack of respite beds in north and east Cork is creating a ‘postcode lottery for respite’


A file image of Fermoy Welfare Home. It currently has nine respite beds.

A file image of Fermoy Welfare Home. It currently has nine respite beds.

A file image of Fermoy Welfare Home. It currently has nine respite beds.


The low number of respite bed in north and east Cork is forcing people to remain in hospital according to Cork East TD, Sean Sherlock.

Figures provided to Deputy Sherlock by the HSE show that there are only 22 respite beds in north Cork and even less in east Cork with just 16 beds available.

The HSE said that refurbishment works to meet HIQA standards "may temporarily impact bed availability”.

Deputy Sherlock has criticised the lack of respite beds and is calling on the HSE and the Government to increase the number of beds. He said that the situation is like a “postcode lottery for respite”

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"I've encountered situations where people cannot leave hospital because there is no respite bed available to them in north or east Cork," said Deputy Sherlock.

The figures released to Deputy Sherlock show in North Cork there are nine beds in Fermoy Welfare Home (HSE), 12 in Nazareth House in Mallow, and one in Teach Altra in Newmarket (contracted beds)

In East Cork there are three respite beds in Cois Abhainn Youghal (HSE), ten beds in Care Choice Ballynoe (contracted beds) and three Cobh Community Hospital (contracted beds).

"The low figures for North and East Cork make for stark reading. The HSE has said refurbishment works "may temporarily impact on bed availability". We need to know how many beds are out of action because of HIQA requirements. I welcome improvements for patients but plans could have been put in place to meet the demand for beds. I am following up on this and putting pressure on the HSE and the Government to dramatically ramp up the respite beds across North and East Cork. This is like a postcode lottery for respite,” added Deputy Sherlock.

The HSE said that a review of respite bed availability across the region is currently underway in order to identify potential areas where respite capacity can be improved and more closely aligned with demographic demand.

They said Cork Kerry Community Healthcare is committed to providing all available supports, including respite services, to Older People in the region.

"Community Nursing Units/Hospitals assess referrals on an individual basis in relation to the provision of respite services. Respite care is generally a planned short admission usually of one or two week’s duration. Access to same is dependent on bed availability and can be arranged by an individual’s primary care team/public health nursing service.”

They said some admissions can be facilitated on an emergency basis and if no respite beds are available in a HSE facility, the HSE may be able to assist emergency cases by facilitating access to respite beds in private nursing home.