Shock at Lifford Hospital closure

Eamonn McFadden

Reporter:

Eamonn McFadden

There has been widespread shock at the news the residential section of Lifford Hospital is to close this year.

There has been widespread shock at the news the residential section of Lifford Hospital is to close this year.

In a statement released by the HSE on Friday, the closure of the residential care aspect of Lifford Hospital is being proposed.

It reads: “Since the moratorium on recruitment was introduced to the end of February 2012, a total of 61.7 staff will have left the community hospital services in Donegal. This includes 36 nursing staff. In order to maintain patient safety there is a need to consolidate residential care at a smaller number of locations. The provision of a safe and quality service is paramount to the HSE. The intention to close the unit was taken on the basis that the capacity to continue to deliver a safe service is not possible in view of the reducing financial allocation across all HSE services, continued reductions in staff numbers, (in line with plans to reduce the overall number of staff working in the public sector) and the difficulty in meeting future HIQA Standards, in particular the standard for physical environment.”

Speaking out against the cuts, GP and medical officer at the hospital, Dr Martin Coyne said “the heart of the hospital and the heart of the community is broken” by the news.

“Obviously our long stay patients, they are going to essentially leave what is their home and at an elderly and advanced stage of their lives they will have to relocate,” he stated.

Area Manager for the HSE, John Hayes said they have begun the process of meeting the families affected as the patients are their priority.

“We have eleven long stay patients at Lifford and obviously our first priority is in making arrangements to suit these patients. We will be meeting these patients, their families and their carers shortly and have, in fact, already met some of them.

“The consultation process with staff will also begin regarding their future redeployment.

“We have already given an undertaking to listen to any proposals regarding the future viability of the hospital in Lifford,” he added.