The estimated cost of upgrading Donegal’s ten Community Hospitals to full compliance would total in excess of 40 million euro, it was claimed at the weekend.
Discussions are ongoing nationally to consider how the issue should be addressed, a Health Service Executive source told the People’s Press/Democrat.
One of the hospitals involved, Lifford, which has been the subject of speculation on its future, would require “significant capital investment” if it is to comply with legal provisions on residential care, the spokesperson revealed.
Reacting yesterday to the H.S.E. statewwment on the issue of Community Hospitals, Lifford based councillor Gerry Crawford said once again it appeared that local issues were being looked at in a national context.
“If this is the case it doesn’t give a fair reflection of the wishes and desires of the local community,” he maintained.
Pointing out that it was important that commitments given during the recent elections with regard to Community Hospitals be honoured, clr. Crawford said the demonstration of support for Lifford Hospital underlined the need locally for its retention.
“Judging by the communication from the H.S.E., it would seem that a national solution is being sought to a local issue and this is not the way it should be. It hasn’t worked in the past and it won’t work now,” he insisted.
Lifford Hospital is currently operating as a twenty bedded unit, providing 12 continuing care beds, four respite beds and three beds for assessment, rehabilitation and palliative care.
Responding to a request on the future of the Lifford establishment, as fears continue for its future, the H.S.E. source said: “Due to age and design the hospital does not comply with the Physical Environment element of the National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People.
“H.S.E. facilities will be fully required to fully comply with all infrastractural requirements within the next five years. The upgrading of Lifford Hospital to comply with legal provisions on residential care will require significant capital investment. The estimated cost of upgrading the H.S.E.’s Community Hospitals in Donegal to full compliance is in excess of 40 million euro. Discussions are ongoing nationally to consider how this issue should be addressed,” the statement indicated.