1,000 signatures reached
To: Minister for Health Simon Harris
Save Your Hospice
A committment by the Government to keep the South Westmeath open
Why is this important?
Representatives of the South Westmeath Hospice Committee along with elected representatives in Longford Westmeath met with the HSE on the 28th August. The HSE put forward proposals that include the following:
1. To close the current South Westmeath Hospice building at the end 2019
2. To provide two palliative care beds in St. Vincent’s Care Centre
3. To provide, based on need, up to four beds in a new facility in Clonbrusk, Athlone, if the HSE deem there to be a need.
The HSE told the Committee and elected representatives that the rationale for this proposal is around the cost of beds in the hospice. The HSE also stated that there is a difficulty with recruitment of nursing staff for the current facility. The HSE is proposing to build a new 50 bed unit at Clonbrusk, Athlone. The Committee is at a loss to understand the stance taken by the HSE and how they can propose proceeding with a fifty bed unit in the future when they can’t, by their own statement, currently staff a 28 bed one.
The South Westmeath Hospice Committee is devastated and shocked at these proposals. First and foremost, we reject all of them in their entirety and we will fight tooth and nail to preserve the facility and services that we currently have. We have informed the HSE that we will use every means at our disposal to safeguard the service and the interests of the people of South Westmeath.
As a significant stakeholder in the provision of resources for palliative care we have expressed our disappointment at the lack of consultation with regard to their proposals and indeed the late stage of engagement with the South Westmeath Hospice Committee and the elected representatives of Longford Westmeath, both of whom represent the community who use and benefit from the care and support provided at the current hospice facility.
The outcome from the meeting is that the HSE has agreed to shelve the proposals and have given a commitment that they will engage with the South Westmeath Hospice Committee and the elected representatives with regard to the future of our hospice.
The South Westmeath Hospice Committee believes that our frustrations will be shared by the people of South Westmeath, its environs and our supporters in general. The Committee asks that people refer to our Facebook page for up-to-date factual information as this situation develops and unfolds. The Committee may need to call on the public to support us in whatever campaign is required to ensure the best possible services for our patients, their families and the community in general is maintained. The Committee of the South Westmeath Hospice assure the public of our commitment, accountability and integrity in all consultation and engagement on this issue.