Deep concern was expressed by all members of Ballyshannon Town Council at this week’s meeting when it was confirmed that a total of 25 beds had been closed in the town’s two hospitals.
In response to a question by Cllr. Pat O’Malley it was confirmed by the HSE that 14 beds in the Sheil Hospital and 11 beds in The Rock Hospital had in fact been closed down.
Cllr. Billy Grimes said that 25 beds had been lost to the area and queried whether the HSE had any plans to reinstate them.
“This is a large % of beds in the area and I would call on the HSE to use the available space in the Shiel Hospital to make up the shortfall” he said.
Cllr. Pat O’Malley said, “This is death by one thousand cuts - HIQUA say this is a matter of health and safety but this is simply a cop out. “This closure represents a 50% cutback which this town can ill - afford.
“For many people both the Sheil and the Rock were second homes - where are these people supposed to go. Are they to be moved down the county or even to St. John’s in Sligo and as a result deprived of meeting their relatives and friends. This is just not acceptable.”
Cllr. Billy Grimes added that both hospitals were seen as “the jewels in the crown” in Ballyshannon and that the town could not afford to lose anything else.
Cllr. John Meehan, Mayor of Ballyshannon added, “We are all aware of the importance of both these facilities to the town and more importantly the great care that they have shown and continue to show to the residents over the years.
“We must accept that while the Rock Hospital offers care which is second to none it is a very old building and would require a major investment to bring it up to present day standards.”
It was agreed to request a meeting with the HSE.