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Dublin: 4 °C Friday 25 April, 2014

Cystic Fibrosis charity withholds €1.8 million from hospital

Build4Life wants commitments from the hospital that beds at a new ward will be ringfenced for cystic fibrosis patients.

A CHARITY WHICH has raised €3.5 million for sufferers of cystic fibrosis (CF) is refusing to hand over €1.8 million to Cork University Hospital.

Build4Life chairman Joe Browne says that the charity has raised the entire €2.3 million needed to build a state-of-the-art respiratory ward at the Cork hospital, but only on the proviso that 10 of the 20 beds be ringfenced for CF sufferers. That was later scaled back to eight beds.

Build4Life claim they were seeking a contract guaranteeing that.

Browne says that no such guarantee has been forthcoming, forcing the charity to hold back the money.

“Build4Life has a moral and legal obligation to CF adults and to the public who helped raise the funds to develop these lifesaving facilities, to ensure these beds are ringfenced. At all times we have to be transparent, and ensure that monies raised go towards what we have been fundraising for.”

He said that the charity would not be “bullied” into handing the money over.

The day we hand over the funds for the Adult Respiratory Ward will be a major milestone for Build4Life, and one that we want to happen as soon as possible.

It is something we have all been working so hard, for so many years to achieve; but we cannot be bullied at this last hurdle and our focus remains developing life-saving inpatient and outpatient facilities for people with cystic fibrosis.”

In response, Cork University Hospital said that the beds would be prioritised for CF patients, but would have to be used for other purposes. A spokesperson told TheJournal.ie that non-CF patients would be moved from the beds if necessary.

Dr. Barry Plant, Respiratory Consultant at CUH said, “The CF clinical team has been delighted to work with Build4Life, CUH management and a number of other philanthropic and innovative health care groups to continue to build on the significant development for CF adult patients in this region, during the last five years.

“Unfortunately on occasions such as for example a flu epidemic the hospital needs to increase bed numbers available. Hospital management and bed management teams continue to support the CF inpatient bed requirement as needed.”

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