No respite care is currently available at St Patrick’s Community Hospital in Fermoy due to a vacancy in medical officer cover which the HSE has not yet been able to fill, with patients instead being offered alternative arrangements at similar facilities in North Cork.

Speaking to The Avondhu, one carer whose patient was due to enter St Patrick’s for respite care, recently said any change to a regular routine can be difficult and upsetting for an elderly patient.

The HSE said that no beds are closed at St Patrick’s but ‘a number are currently not in use’ due to the vacancy in medical officer cover. The HSE said ‘strenuous efforts’ are continuing to fill this vacancy.

“Without full medical cover, it is not possible to provide respite service, but we must stress that this is on a temporary basis only,” the HSE said.

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