Thursday 21 June 2018

Further progress on Kanturk and Millstreet Hospital refurbishment plans welcomed

Cllr John Paul O’Shea (FG)
Cllr John Paul O’Shea (FG)

Bill Browne

Further progress on plans to refurbish Kanturk and Millstreet Community Hospitals has been warmly welcomed by local Fine Gael county councillor John Paul O'Shea. 

As far back as August 2015, reports by the Health and Information Authority (HIQA) highlighted major flaws in operating procedures and conditions at both HSE administered facilities. 

In the case of Millstreet, HIQA found the accommodation provided was not always adequate for end-of-life care, pointing out that one resident who was dying was located in an 11-bed ward.

The report said "significant requirements" were required most notably in the design and layout of the hospital, which dates back to 1932, noting that it was in poor repair with damp walls and damaged tiles.

Additional required improvements also included: addressing restraint practices, staff training, medication management and staffing levels. In relation to Kanturk Community Hospital, HIQA found that the layout of the premises, which was built in 1927, compromised the privacy and dignity of residents.

Inspectors wrote they were unhappy with the "inadequate communal conditions" and were critical of certain aspects including the lack of wardrobe space and the absence of a plan for responding to emergencies. However, the 40-bed facility was described as "bright, clean and in a good state of repair".

In March of last year it was confirmed to members of Cork County Council's northern committee by HSE regional chief officer Ger Reaney that €9.7 million had been set aside for works at both hospitals under the government's Capital Investment Plan. 

He also confirmed that the planned works would not result in a reduction of beds at either hospital. While he did not give a timetable for the works, Mr Reaney said there was an "indicative completion date" of the end of 2018 for the works to be completed. 

Cllr O'Shea this week confirmed that a full design team has now been appointed for the Kanturk project and is due to seek planning permission for the refurbishment works by the end of this year. 

He said the first phase of the Millstreet works were nearing completion and the design team was reviewing existing layouts and accommodation with a view to seeking planning permission for phase two of the project in early 2019.

Welcoming the latest update, Cllr O'Shea said both hospitals play "an integral role" in the care of elderly people in their respective communities. 

"The design and layout of the hospitals for the future care of the elderly of the area is a critical part of this process. Both hospitals currently play an integral role in the care of the elderly in their respective communities and the HSE must ensure that both these refurbishments proceed as soon as is practically possible," he said. 

Cllr O'Shea said that he, his council colleague Cllr Gerard Murphy and Minister Michael Creed would be keeping a close eye on progress to ensure further progress is made on both projects over the coming months. 

"I would also like to take this opportunity to commend the work of the staff and management of both hospitals, whose work provides a vital service to the patients, families and communities across north Cork," he said.