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Ó Snodaigh, Aengus

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Community Nursing Homes

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Community Nursing Homes

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Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh

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Snippet Contents:

It is a disgrace that two years after a €12 million community nursing home facility was completed in Inchicore, it has not yet started operations. This facility was to provide community nursing home beds in one of the most disadvantaged areas, which includes a large aging population. The facility contains state-of-the-art facilities, yet it remains closed for its intended purpose. It was built as part of an overall plan to regenerate St. Michael's estate, as well as being next to the primary health care unit which is going well. The latter unit is a credit to those who had that vision. At the time, the community nursing home facility was part of an overall plan to provide public nursing home care not only in the 50-bed unit in St. Michael's estate, but also in Brú Caoimhghín where additional beds were to be built, and the Meath Hospital.
There was an overall plan that all these beds would surround St. James's Hospital, which is one of the busiest hospitals in the country. They were being provided to facilitate the release of patients who required convalescent aftercare, rather than being stuck in acute beds thus blocking the transfer of patients from accident and emergency units and elsewhere. Newspaper reports have referred to them as "bed-blockers". I do not believe they are bed blockers but they do need a different level of care. The facilities to which I am referring are within a mile of St. James's Hospital. It is illogical, economically and otherwise, to have a facility of this size sitting unused in an area that is crying out for it.
Over the past year, I have visited many patients in St. James's and Tallaght hospitals. Many of them needed to be transferred to a nursing home, but the system puts them into private health care. This is the privatisation agenda which has been carried on from the last Government to this one. I appeal to the Minister of State to announce that these beds will be opened, so that patients can be transferred from a public hospital to a public community health care facility.
It beggars belief why such a building is there. Anyone who visits it will see that it is a beautiful building on the grounds of the old St. Michael's school next to the primary health care centre. At some stage, this Government or a future Administration will have significant scope to regenerate the area, which has suffered the trials and tribulations of being disadvantaged and ignored for many years.
The financial logic of opening this facility is that it would allow beds to be freed up in St. James's Hospital so that it could become more effective and efficient in the use of hospital space. In that instance, one would not see the Minister for Health cutting €9 million from St. James's Hospital because it would prove it is well capable of delivering efficiencies.
We carried out a petition in the local area, asking local people what was happening. They had raised the issue with us on quite a number of occasions in the past few years. I will be presenting the Minister with a petition tomorrow containing over 600 signatures. That was just from the near vicinity and we did not go beyond that. We asked them what their demands were concerning this facility. The primary demand was to open it now and not leave it sitting there closed. It is a living disgrace.