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Buy your own soap, hospital patients told

ELDERLY patients in a long stay HSE facility have been told to supply their own toiletries.

A letter circulated to relatives of elderly residents in Woodlands Unit 6 in Connolly Hospital requested that they supply toiletries for their loved ones, including shampoo, shower gel and toothpaste.

The letter cited 'financial constraints' as the reason the hospital cannot supply even basic soap to elderly residents.

Blanchardstown resident Charlie Kurtz -- whose mother has been a patient at the Woodland unit for three years -- said it was a depressing indictment of modern-day Ireland.

"We've been asked to provide shampoo and toothpaste.

"In elderly patient care units where people are being asked to contribute to their own care anyway, you would expect toiletries could be provided.

"It's not a major problem for me personally but some it is."

Mr Kurtz said this extra cost to the patient is "indicative of how far we've gone with budgetary constraints".

"I'd say this was pushing it a bit too far. The vulnerable are being asked to carry the burden of the banking crisis."

He praised the staff of Woodlands for the quality of care they provide and their good communications with relatives.

HSE spokesperson for Connolly Rosaleen Harlin said: "It is normal practice in Woodlands Unit 6 of Connolly and other long stay units in Dublin North East for residents to supply of their own toiletries."

But the situation has been slammed by Socialist TD Matt Waine, who described the cutbacks in the Hospital in Blanchardstown as 'galling'.

"We had the problem with the contract on the franking machine not being renewed a few years back, which led to patients not receiving notification of changes to appointment times and such. But now the cuts have moved from clerical to the very basic necessities.

"The Government will argue there's fat to be trimmed but there's no fat left after €20m in cuts to Connolly over the last four years."