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 Header Item Neuro-Rehabilitation Services (Continued)
 Header Item Nursing Home Accommodation

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 998 No. 4

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  7 o’clock

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Mary Butler: Information on Mary Butler Zoom on Mary Butler] The model of care proposed is a hub and spoke model consisting of a tertiary centre linking at least four managed clinical rehabilitation networks, each one serving a population of about 1 million people. The network will connect acute and post-acute rehabilitation units and community specialist rehabilitation clinicians in a formal governance structure to allow the delivery of co-ordinated rehabilitative care for patients across all levels of complexity.

The HSE has advised that a review of rehabilitation services in the South/South West Hospital Group was, as the Deputy said, undertaken in February 2017 and was further updated in May 2019. The review outlined a number of recommendations in regard to the development of rehabilitation services in the South/South West Hospital Group. The HSE also advised that, in line with the model of care for the provision of rehabilitation medicine in Ireland and the neuro-rehabilitation strategy, the review recommended the development of a regional specialist rehabilitation unit for the South/South West Hospital Group to support patients with moderate to severe physical, cognitive and communicative disabilities.

The HSE has further advised that the review recommended the development of a full range of rehabilitation services in the South/South West Hospital Group, including hyper acute rehabilitation as well as associated specialist post-acute inpatient rehabilitation units. The HSE has advised that these units will operate in a hub and spoke model with the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dublin, through managed clinical rehabilitation networks, which is consistent with the model of care for rehabilitation medicine.

Deputy James O'Connor: Information on James O'Connor Zoom on James O'Connor I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate the Minister of State, Deputy Butler, on her appointment. She and I go back a number of years and I know she is an exceptionally hard worker for the constituency of Waterford. I am deeply grateful that she has been appointed as a Minister of State.

As my colleague, Deputy O'Sullivan, has stated, a review of the patient services in the South/South West Hospital Group has been undertaken. I agree that such personnel should be located in Cork University Hospital, CUH, now that the process is under review. I welcome that a major trauma centre is to be placed in CUH to provide high to moderate intensive inpatient rehabilitation for patients who can tolerate an intensive rehabilitation programme or who require a structured environment.

It would be wise to locate one of these designated trauma units attached to such a major trauma centre in Mallow General Hospital. Mallow is the crossroads of Munster. It has great connections to CUH, and the development of the new M20 motorway will allow greater connectivity to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dublin. The location of Mallow General Hospital would fit excellently into the managed clinical rehabilitation networks hub and spoke model proposed under the review and should be taken into consideration.

Deputy Mary Butler: Information on Mary Butler Zoom on Mary Butler Emergency trauma and medical care is now more responsive and effective and more people are surviving catastrophic injuries with complex life-changing neurological, vascular and orthopaedic effects. This has led to an overwhelming requirement for specialist rehabilitation services which are essential if patients are to regain or maintain a quality of life after serious illness or injury.

It is important to note that the Programme for Government: Our Shared Future has committed to the continued implementation of the neuro-rehabilitation strategy. The HSE has also advised that the South/South West Hospital Group and Cork Kerry Community Healthcare are progressing discussions in regard to the development of a rehabilitation unit in Cork which is consistent with the recommendations of the review of rehabilitation services in the South/South West Hospital Group. While discussions on this development have been delayed due to the Covid-19 emergency, it is expected that a submission will be finalised in the coming weeks.

Nursing Home Accommodation

Deputy Alan Kelly: Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly The Minister of State has had a long afternoon and I am sure she will be well aware of this topic. I am sure it has been raised with her before. The Dean Maxwell Community Nursing Home in Roscrea is something that is cherished by the people of Roscrea and its surrounds. It has looked after its residents for a long time. It provides care that is second to none. It is an incredible unit based in the centre of the town.

There have been an awful lot of promises made about the unit. In the northern part of Tipperary there is a fantastic state-of-the-art public elderly care unit in Thurles, Community Hospital of the Assumption. In Nenagh a new 50-bed unit is being built, St. Conlon's Community Nursing Unit, beside the hospital. Work is commencing soon and it will be a fantastic facility. Roscrea is the other major town that has a public unit which needs to be rebuilt.

There is a history in regard to this. The people of the town have had enough. We need to get this sorted. HIQA has done inspections, which the unit has passed. I have all of the details, but on top of that we also need to ensure there are long-stay beds. It is not good enough to say that it will be turned into a short-stay facility. The people of Roscrea and surrounds will not tolerate that. I, as a public representative, will not tolerate that because those who are resident now and who will be resident there in the future want it to be a long-stay facility.

The building is very similar to St. Conlon's in Nenagh. It needs to be completely redone. It does not meet HIQA requirements in terms of single bedrooms, space, facilities and everything else. It is on a site in the middle of the town beside a church and is within walking distance of many people. The site can be rebuilt on. The council is willing to work with the HSE to build on the site if necessary. Before the last general election another public representative made a commitment that a new nursing home would be built in Roscrea. That seems to have disappeared.

We need to draw out a plan. We need more public beds and capacity in Tipperary so that we can look after the elderly. We need a plan for the home. I must commend the Minister of State's predecessor, Jim Daly. He was the first person to say that we will deal with the units and make sure it is a long-stay facility. I and other Deputies met him on 17 December in Government Buildings. He visited Roscrea with a local community group on 27 January. He gave assurances that under no circumstances would the unit be closed and that consideration would be given to how it would be funded. He gave assurances which were the most comprehensive assurances we had ever been given. To be fair to him, he was quite a good Minister.

We need to chart a plan for the nursing home because the community of Roscrea will not tolerate anything else. To be honest, neither will I. Other public representatives feel the same. We are all united in this. This has been going on for too long. The town has been let down in many ways. It has lost industry. No other issue unites the people of the town as much as this nursing home and its future. I ask the Minister of State to look at her funding capacity. We do not mind waiting as long as there is a plan.

Deputy Mary Butler: Information on Mary Butler Zoom on Mary Butler I thank the Deputy for raising the issue of the Dean Maxwell Community Nursing Home. I heard about it recently.

A key principle underpinning Government policies is to support older people to live in their homes with dignity and independence for as long as possible. In recent years there has been a shift in healthcare provision focused towards home care. Home support services are key in facilitating older people to remain at home, and with our ageing population, they will become even more important in the future.

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