Dáil debates

Wednesday, 15 May 2024

Delivering Universal Healthcare: Statements


2:50 pm

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent) | Oireachtas source

I too am happy to contribute to the debate. It was interesting listening to the former Taoiseach and former Minister for Health, Deputy Varadkar. He provided some different insights. It is a very complex issue. I would not say for one moment that there are not good things happening in the HSE and in hospitals, as there are. I have been in St. Vincent's public hospital myself too many times in recent years and, in fairness, I got top-class service in it. However, there are huge blockages and a lack of accountability, as Deputy O'Donoghue and others have said.

It is shocking what is going on in UHL. Now they have decided to second St. Conlon's community nurisng unit in Nenagh as a step-down facility. They do not know whether they are coming or going. They are like rabbits in headlights. HIQA forced St. Conlon's to build a new place. It took away its licence and gave it a year to get a new facility because it said the other one was so bad. Now HIQA has been instructed by the HSE or someone – it makes a pure farce of it – to say that the existing St. Conlon's unit is okay for some more years.

I wish to raise St. Brigid's in Carrick-on-Suir. Councillor Kieran Bourke and many others fought so gallantly for that. What happened there in the middle of Covid was a shameful situation. It was seconded for Covid and then it was unceremoniously closed down without any accountability. There was no problem with HIQA or anything else. There has been no accountability or no answers about St. Brigid's. It should not have happened. It contained three hospice beds that the community had fundraised for and raised a huge amount. Many people were born there and many of them spent their last days there with excellent hospice care in those three hospice suites.

The funding they have given in has not been handed back by the HSE. It has been promised but not handed back. They do not want the money back; they want those hospice beds returned in Carrick-on-Suir.

I commend Councillor Séamie Morris on his sterling work to help out the situation in University Hospital Limerick and for his fight to save St. Conlon's for the patients who need it and their families who need respite service and long-term care for older people who deserve it, rather than to be hijacked by the HSE to try to put a sticking plaster on UHL.


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