HSE’s claim that hos­pi­tal has am­ple beds is re­jected

The Kerryman (North Kerry) - - COMMUNITY NEWS - De­clan Malone & Joan Maguire de­clan­[email protected]­com.net 087 2535226 [email protected]­pu­cara.ie 087 2700273

A CLAIM by the HSE that the de­mand for care in West Kerry is be­ing met by the cur­rent num­ber of beds in Din­gle Com­mu­nity Hos­pi­tal has been re­jected as not re­flect­ing the re­al­ity that fam­i­lies find it ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to get el­derly peo­ple ac­cepted into the hos­pi­tal.

The hos­pi­tal has been op­er­at­ing at eight beds be­low its full 54-bed ca­pac­ity since it was first opened in 2010. Fol­low­ing pro­tracted ne­go­ti­a­tions with both the health watch­dog HIQA and the INMO nurses’ union, the HSE se­cured agree­ment in Fe­bru­ary 2017 to open eight ad­di­tional beds to bring the hos­pi­tal up to its full 54-bed ca­pac­ity, but this was de­pen­dent on the re­cruit­ment of ad­di­tional staff.

For nearly two years the HSE has been try­ing to re­cruit nurses and nurs­ing as­sis­tants for the hos­pi­tal but with no suc­cess. As a re­sult the promised eight ex­tra beds have re­mained closed and this prob­lem has been com­pounded by the more re­cent clo­sure of five of the ex­ist­ing beds be­cause of staff short­ages.

With the hos­pi­tal now op­er­at­ing at 13 beds be­low its full ca­pac­ity The Ker­ry­man posed a se­ries of ques­tions to the HSE ask­ing about the progress of the re­cruit­ment cam­paign. In re­sponse the HSE is­sued a state­ment last week say­ing that: “Although not all beds are open at West Kerry Com­mu­nity Hos­pi­tal, it is im­por­tant to point out that there is no wait­ing list for beds at the com­mu­nity hos­pi­tal, ei­ther long-stay or short-stay. The de­mand for care in the area is be­ing met by the cur­rent num­ber of beds.”

The HSE state­ment added that, “we con­tinue to re­cruit at West Kerry Com­mu­nity Hos­pi­tal, con­tin­u­ing on ex­ten­sive ef­forts to at­tract staff to the area”.

The HSE also con­firmed that “re­cruit­ment is about to be­gin for a Di­rec­tor of Nurs­ing and a nurse man­ager” for the hos­pi­tal.

Com­ment­ing on the HSE’s re­sponse, Cllr Sea­mus Cosaí Mac Gear­ailt said this week that there is abun­dant ev­i­dence of peo­ple un­suc­cess­fully seek­ing to get a bed in Din­gle Hos­pi­tal.

“I re­alise that that they’re try­ing to re­cruit staff, but I don’t agree that there is an ad­e­quate num­ber of beds in the hos­pi­tal,” he said. “There’s a huge de­mand for beds from the lo­cal area… you would reg­u­larly hear peo­ple com­plain­ing about how dif­fi­cult it is to get into Din­gle Hos­pi­tal.”

Many el­derly lo­cal peo­ple who are cur­rently res­i­dent in nurs­ing homes and hos­pi­tals out­side of West Kerry would love to get back to Din­gle but they can’t be­cause there is no space for them in the hos­pi­tal, he said.

“Maybe they [the HSE] had enough beds on the day the state­ment was writ­ten,” he added.

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