AN increasing level of concern regarding West Cork’s nursing homes has prompted a general election candidate to organise a public meeting in Clonakilty.
Cllr Margaret Murphy O’Mahony (FF) has organised the meeting because of what she calls ‘the high volume of concern I’m receiving from people about the need for greater dignity and investment in community care for our older citizens’.
‘I have been struck by how many people are bringing up this issue, not just for them, but younger people are growing increasingly fearful that our health services will not be there for their parents later in life,’ she told The Southern Star.
Earlier this year Fianna Fail expressed concern over the future of a number of nursing homes in West Cork, which were threatened with closure by standards watchdog Hiqa, for failing to meet 2015 deadlines.
‘I am particularly concerned about the future of Bandon, Clonakility and Castletownbere Community Hospitals. alongside St Joseph’s Ward in Bantry,’ Cllr Margaret O’Mahony told The Southern Star at the time.
‘These nursing homes provide an invaluable care service and losing them would cause serious damage to our communities. They urgently need additional funding to ensure they adhere to the accommodation requirements set out by HIQA.’
But recently the Health Minister agreed to extend the deadline for meeting standards to 2021, to give facilities the ‘breathing space’ needed to carry out upgrades.
‘While I welcome the fact that an element of uncertainty that was hanging over some district hospitals to meet improved standards has been clarified, it doesn’t take away from the fact more money does need to be invested in Cork’s hospitals,’ said Cllr Margaret O’Mahony.
‘It is essential that our public nursing homes meet the proper standards and that our older citizens are cared for with dignity and respect in settings that are safe and up to best standards.’
‘The extension of the Hiqa deadline for meeting thousands of standards shouldn’t come as a signal for the Government to put off making the investment necessary … our older citizens deserve to be priority for investment.’
Fianna Fail Health spokesperson Billy Kelleher will attend the meeting in Cloankilty, which will discuss the concerns around investment in community and district hospitals.
‘It will also address the need for strong home help support including care packages and proper home help hours in West Cork,’ she added.
The public meeting will be held in Clonakilty this Friday, November 20th at the Fernhill House Hotel at 8pm.