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HSE takes legal action to prevent closure of Clare hospital for the elderly

According to health authority HIQA the action by the HSE is the first of its kind.

jose St Joseph's Hospital, Ennis Source: Google Maps

THE HEALTH SERVICE Executive (HSE) is making a legal bid to prevent the eventual closure of a 120-bed long-stay hospital for the elderly in Ennis.

This follows legal representatives for the HSE and HIQA (Health Information and Quality Authority) appearing at Ennis District Court where the HSE is appealing an order by HIQA that the long-stay St Joseph’s Hospital in Ennis be no longer able to admit new patients.

The order by HIQA follows a recent inspection of the hospital that caters for elderly long-stay patients.

If the order is upheld, it will result in the eventual closure of the hospital.

The hospital can continue to admit patients with the appeal in place ahead of a full court hearing into the HSE appeal next month.

A spokesman for HIQA said yesterday: “As far as we are aware, this is the first time that the HSE has appealed against an order by HIQA.”

In the case, Judge Patrick Durcan has set aside two days next month, 12 June and 13 June 13th when evidence will be heard.

It is not clear what exactly in the to-date unpublished inspection report prompted HIQA to make the order, but the health watchdog has previously raised serious concerns about the state of the physical building that accommodates patients there.

Report

In the most recently published inspection report, HIQA stated that the HSE was in ‘major’ non-compliance concerning the design and layout of the hospital.

The inspectors stated: “The premises is significantly non-compliant with regulatory requirements and does not meet the individual and collective needs of the residents in terms of their privacy, personal space, access to dining and communal space and adequate and accessible sanitary facilities.”

In its report, HIQA inspectors found that the design and layout does not meet the individual and collective needs of the residents in a comfortable and homely manner, and does not promote the privacy, independence and quality of life of residents.

The report states that while the HSE “had explored different options and was committed to the long term future of the centre, there was no definitive, agreed, time bound, funded, explicit plan to address the identified non compliance”.

Two of the units at the hospital accommodate 42 residents each in large wards and HIQA found that neither unit “offered adequate sitting, dining or recreational space”.

The report recorded that the majority of residents spend their day in bed or at their bedsides and had limited space for the storage of personal possessions.

Comments are closed as the case is before the courts

Read: Hospital patient ‘no shows’ are costing the State nearly €12m

Read: Ireland still ‘on course to become the most obese nation in Europe’

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Gordon Deegan

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