BY JACKIE KEOGH
A TWO-month delay in opening a new extension at Bandon Community Hospital has been highlighted in the Dáil by Michael Collins TD.
Deputy Collins raised the issue in the Dáil on Wednesday saying: ‘The extension was completed in August, but the Health Service Executive has yet to open the new facility because of a delay with staff appointments.’
The Cork South West TD said it was a ‘much-needed facility in the greater Bandon area and to allow it to remain idle for even one day more is unacceptable.’
The TD said community representatives and the Friends of Bandon Hospital had worked very hard to assist with the development of the new hospital extension – an extension that includes two day rooms, a dining room, facilities for families of palliative care residents, new clinical and therapy facilities and two enclosed gardens.
Deputy Collins called on the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, to ‘put a budget in place so the HSE can adequately staff and open this facility immediately.’ Deputy Collins said: ‘It is almost two months since the builders completed the project and a two-month wait for an elderly person can feel like a lifetime.’
Patricia Brennan, PRO of the Friends of Bandon Community Hospital, told The Southern Star: ‘We are extremely disappointed that the new development at Bandon Community Hospital is currently lying idle. It is imperative that the staffing issue be sorted immediately so that the residents can move into their new accommodation and that respite will once again be made available.’ The HSE was contacted for a comment. A spokesperson said: ‘As part of the Capital Programme for Older Persons Residential Services, €3.44m was allocated to totally upgrade and reconfigure all facilities in Bandon Community Hospital. In order to maintain the current bed numbers and minimise disruption to the existing residents, the works are being completed in two phases with phase one completed in August 2017 and the second phase expected to be completed by the end of November 2017.
‘A date for the opening of the new facilities has not yet been determined as discussions between HSE management and staff representative associations are still ongoing in regard to safe staffing levels for the new unit. HSE Management continue to liaise with staff and their representatives in an effort to reach an agreement. A panel is in place locally for staff, and a recently advertised recruitment campaign has also attracted a number of applicants who are being interviewed shortly to cover any future vacancies or staffing requirements.’