There are no plans to close Carndonagh hospital.
That was about the only positive news to emerge from a meeting between a Hospital Liaison delegation and Mr. Kieran Doherty and other management from the HSE on Friday last.
At the outset the delegation clearly pointed out their disbelief that, in the space of eleven months since the hospital received its HIQA registration (22 June 2012), the operational capability of the hospital had been reduced by ten beds.
A spokesperson for the Group commented: “It was stated in the strongest possible terms that, while we were aware of the HSE recruitment embargo, this development was not in any way acceptable to the community. This was practically a 25% reduction in bed numbers and was disproportionate to closures elsewhere.”
The delegation was informed that the current operational number of beds in the hospital was 36. This consisted of 12 beds in the Alzheimer’s Unit (normally 6 long term + 6 respite) and 24 in the main hospital (17 long term + 7 short stay).
The spokesperson stated they had been told it was envisaged there would be no increase in the bed numbers in the foreseeable future.
“It was also stated that there were no plans to close the hospital.”
The HSE representatives were told by the Liaison Group that they had been previously been assured by the HSE that the 16 beds in the Alzheimer’s Unit would be available should the demand for such beds increase. It was now stated that this commitment could not be met and the operational capacity was reduced to twelve beds
The spokesperson went on:“It was also pointed out, once again, that the community had made significant capital contributions to the development of the hospital through contributions to the provision of the Alzheimer’s Unit, the Chapel of Ease and the Hospice Wards. There were also significant donations made to the Patient’s Comfort Fund.”
The spokesperson concluded that a report of the meeting will now be given to the full Hospital Group. Following this meeting there will be a public meeting to discuss the situation and agree an overall strategy.
A further meeting with the HSE will take place next month.