Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, visited St Theresa’s Hospital in Clogheen on Friday last to meet staff and to view plans for a proposed major upgrade and extension at the hospital.
St Theresa’s Hospital was opened as a District Hospital in 1926. The hospital currently has a complement of 18 beds and provides rehabilitation and respite care for the elderly. Hospice care services are also provided under the auspices of St Tipperary Hospice.
Major improvements have taken place in recent years, partly funded by Friend’s of St. Theresa’s under the direction of Sr Áine Power (now retired) who was matron for a number of years.
Planning permission was granted by Tipperary County Council for an extension to St Theresa’s in April this year, the plans to include the upgrading of existing facilities to meet HIQA standards, along with further plans to enhance staff and patient facilities.
The construction of Phase 1A and 1B went out to tender in July, with quotations received towards the end of August.
Minister Harris said he was ‘delighted’ to be invited to St Theresa’s by Cllr Marie Murphy and to see at first hand the excellent work being carried out by all the staff.
The Minister was given a tour of the hospital by acting Director of Nursing, Anne Walsh, before viewing the new proposed plans that will include two new hospice suites and the addition of three new single/twin rooms. There will also be a secure garden and courtyard to ensure privacy and safety for patients.
The new bedrooms, en-suites and ancillary accommodation planned will be facilitated in the planned extension, while a day room, oratory, administration, staff accommodation and kitchen will be accommodated in the existing building. When the proposed extension is fully finished, St Theresa’s in Clogheen will be a modern hospital with a complement of 19 beds.
CONSIDERABLE FUNDS RAISED
Having reviewed the plans, Minister Harris was briefed by Cllr Murphy of the massive fundraising efforts of various groups, including Friends of St Theresa’s Hospital, Clogheen Hospice Suite Construction Fund (CHSCF) and Boston Scientific.
These groups were represented by Sr Áine Power, who gave a brief history of the fundraising efforts undertaken by Friends of St Theresa’s over many years, most notably golf classics.
Keith Savage, CHSCF, explained how he got involved in fundraising for St Theresa’s and spoke of the considerable support that was generated for the various events, including the Christmas event which was featured on Ear To The Ground on RTE Television.
The Boston Scientific Employee Charity, represented by JP Fitzpatrick, nominated St Theresa’s as their annual charity as a result of the efforts by CHSCF. South Tipperary Hospice is also committed to supporting the hospital.
Cllr Murphy highlighted the fact that very few places would have circa €400,000 raised in their locality to support such a project and asked the Minister to ensure that St Theresa’s would be included in the next round of Capital Funding.
Minister Harris, stating he was extremely impressed by St Theresa’s Hospital and the plans in place, said he would be returning to the HSE in the hope of achieving additional funding for the project.
Minister Harris also dropped into Vee Valley Day Care Centre for a quick visit on the day, where he was warmly welcomed by the manager Lorraine Taylor, her staff and residents, apologising for interrupting the cards and bingo as he met with all present.