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Dublin: 9 °C Monday 19 November, 2018

Communities will fight for nursing homes, says Sinn Féin

Reports that ten publicly-run community nursing homes will be shut next year have been met with criticism by the Opposition party.

Bridget O'Neill takes part in a November protest against the Abbeyleix unit closure.
Bridget O'Neill takes part in a November protest against the Abbeyleix unit closure.
Image: Brenda Fingleton

SINN FÉIN HAS criticised the Government for the proposed 2012 Health Service Executive (HSE) service plan, details of which were leaked today.

The party’s health spokesperson said that communities across the country will resist the HSE’s plan to close ten publicly-run community nursing homes and 900 beds in 2012.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said today’s report was an “eviction notice” and an early Christmas present from the coalition Government to the “old and the ill in society”.

“On Christmas Eve comes the leak of the HSE’s 2012 service plan with the prospect of ten publicly run community nursing homes being closed down, 900 beds closed and 4,500 medical staff cut,” said Ó Caoláin.

He claimed that the Government and HSE now have an “unwritten policy” to close down public provision of nursing home care for older people.

“If this HSE service plan is implemented then older people will be removed from their homes in 2012. None of this plan should be implemented before the resumption of the Dáil which should have the opportunity to debate and vote on it. In the meantime I urge communities to get organised to resist the threatened closures,” he added.

Earlier today, the Irish Times reported that up to 900 beds in community nursing homes faced closure due to budget cuts at the HSE. The service plan – a legal agreement between the HSE and the State on how the €13 billion health budget is spent – notes that €563 million must be saved during 2012, according to a draft seen by the paper.

The draft plan also outlines cuts to hospital budgets, home-help hours, primary care services and certain elements of mental health care.

Last month, thousands turned out to protest against the closure of the Abbeyleix nursing unit. The home won a reprieve at the High Court so the HSE was forced to quash the proposed closure so consultations could be carried out.

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