Wednesday, 15 December 2021
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
I thank the Deputy. I acknowledge the work that he continues to do on this issue along with Deputy Cahill and Councillor Michael Smith, who has rightly been acknowledged for his work. It is important to highlight what has been confirmed today, which is that the Dean Maxwell can continue from today to admit new residents. That is a significant and important development. The HSE has made that decision. It is subject to caveat in the sense of HIQA instructing it not to do so. It is important that we work to address the standards issues that have been raised by HIQA. I visited the Dean Maxwell in the past. It is a very fine facility. It undoubtedly needs investment; there is no question about that, but the atmosphere, esprit de corpsand the work of the staff were very impressive. I could see it was a very happy environment for the residents, which, at the end of the day, is the most important factor. The residents were very content and happy and seemed to be really well looked after. I commend all the staff working at the Dean Maxwell on the work they continue to do.
It is important to underline that, as a Government, we are fully committed to exploring all available options regarding the Dean Maxwell. We will work with the HSE proactively to identify proposals by the centre’s future. It is evident, as has been demonstrated again this afternoon, that there is strong political support for securing a long-term role with the Dean Maxwell as a community nursing facility. We have heard that message loud and clear, and I am sure that the HSE has also heard it.
It is worth highlighting that, in the Roscrea area, four other nursing homes are funded through the nursing homes support scheme. Two are within the town limits, as the Deputy will know, being so familiar with the town, and the other two are short distance from the town. One is towards Thurles and the other is towards Birr. There is capacity for 110 nursing homes support scheme beds between these four private nursing homes. The two within the town limits have 62 nursing homes support scheme beds between them. This capacity will also be complemented with further public long-stay beds in the planned new facility in Nenagh, which the Deputy has highlighted in his contribution. As he will be aware, the facility is under construction and due for completion in December 2022.
I reiterate, however, that what we need is a long-term solution for the Dean Maxwell. I do not want this issue to be running sore. There is strong support within the Government and across this House for a long-term solution for the Dean Maxwell to enable it to continue to provide nursing-home care to residents in the future. It is significant that it is now in a position to continue to admit new residents from today.