HSE admits Our Lady’s in Cashel is suitable for inpatient accommodation – McGrath

Following its closure in 2007 and over €22 million in renovation costs, the HSE have now admitted that Our Lady’s Hospital in Cashel is suitable for inpatient accommodation despite years of the hospital lying idle and being underutilised.

In a response to questions from Independent TD Mattie McGrath, the HSE explained that “previous design work carried out at Our Lady’s, following its closure in 2007, rendered it adaptable to resumption of inpatient accommodation to modern standards.”

The HSE also confirmed that arrangements are being made for residents and staff of St. Patrick’s Hospital to move on an interim basis to accommodation being established at the former Our Lady’s Hospital building.

‘We need full answers’

Deputy McGrath explained his frustration at waiting over 1 month for answers on the works being carried out by the HSE across Tipperary in response to Covid-19.

“On April 27 I put questions to the Minister for Health and HSE via the dedicated Oireachtas Covid-19 response line for answers on the different works being carried across Tipperary in response to Covid-19 and the costs of these works, but it took over 1 month to receive a response from the HSE.

“The response however, left me with even more questions on where the money is coming from, what exactly is being done and why it has taken so long for the HSE to utilise Our Lady’s Hospital in Cashel,” said Deputy McGrath

“For years while South Tipperary General suffered with severe overcrowding, we were told that Our Lady’s Hospital is not suitable for use as a step down facility to help relieve capacity issues at South Tipperary General Hospital.

“We were told that the lift was removed and that it did not meet with HIQA standards despite over €22 million being spent on the facility, but now the HSE has changed its position and admitted that the hospital is suitable for inpatient accommodation.

“I think answers need to be given on why it was not considered suitable for so long and now suddenly money isn’t an issue, works can be carried out and the HSE can change their mind and say that it is in fact suitable. We need full answers on what works are being carried out, the costs of these works and the plans for the facility for the future.”

Long term future

Deputy McGrath, who had earmarked the facility for use as a hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic, has welcomed the fact that the hospital is now being utilised for inpatient accommodation but called for answers. 

“Who was calling the shots and why, despite the millions spent on this facility, was it allowed to lie underutilised for so long. I acknowledge that there are a number of services being operated from the hospital but many of these services don’t necessarily require a hospital setting and it is my view that the state-of-the-art hospital should have been used as such.

“The HSE’s admission is welcome and I trust that they will now make a better plan for fully utilising the hospital in a post Covid-19 environment.

“The move of patients from St. Patrick’s is described as an interim measure, so we need answers on plans for the long term future of the hospital,” McGrath continued

Deputy McGrath also called on the HSE to immediately resume convalescent, respite and palliative care services at St Brigid’s Hospital, Carrick on Suir which has been lying idle since the HSE ceased its normal operations and designated it as a step down Covid-19 care facility to serve the South Tipperary area.