Hospital high court action deferred
High court proceedings which were due to commence this week, in an attempt to prevent the closure of St. Michael’s Acute Psychiatric Unit in Clonmel, have been deferred until tomorrow Monday, March 12.
Save Our Acute Hospital Services Ltd and Cashel Hospital Action Committe Ltd - two community groups - are seeking an injunction to prevent the Health Service Executive (HSE) from closing the acute 29-bed unit. The community groups are basing their argument to keep the unit open on three separate grounds: that the HSE is in breach of a previous 1996 High Court agreement which set out the services that are to be provided in both Cashel- and Clonmel-based hospitals - acute psychiatric in-patient beds were to be provided in Clonmel; the second is that the HSE is in breach of the Vision for Change policy which says that acute inpatient care could be provided in two locations; and thirdly, the HSE are in breach of fair procedures regarding the manner in which they made the decision to close the unit, without consultation with stakeholders, professionals or service providers.
“The 1996 High Court agreement may seem like a long time ago, but the HSE used this themselves as recently as in 2007 when the transfer of acute services took place from Cashel to Clonmel,” said Deputy Seamus Healy, chairperson of the Save Our Acute Hospital Services committee.
“Over recent months every effort has been made to convince the HSE and the Department of Health that closure of St. Michael’s should not proceed but these efforts have failed and the HSE have in recent weeks confirmed their determination to transfer the beds to Kilkenny. Save Our Acute Hospital Services regard such a move as a breach of this long standing legal agreement that provided for the continuance of all acute hospital services for the people of South Tipperary at Clonmel. Having exhausted all other alternatives, legal proceedings challenging the HSE and the Minister for Health for breaching this agreement have now commenced,” he said.
Last week the HSE confirmed that the original March 31 closure date will now not be adhered to, pending the implementation of alternative community based services. The HSE also confirmed that the number of beds currently occupied at the 44-bed acute inpatient unit in Kilkenny - which is to cater for South Tipperary, Kilkenny and Carlow - iss consistently high, according to Deputy Healy.
“The HSE confirmed a meeting between Oireachtas members and the HSE which took place last week that the number of beds occupied there is consistently high, up to 37 beds. So the unit in Kilkenny would not able to cater for admissions from South Tipperary currently, even if you account for the reduced need for inpatient beds, due to increased community services,” said Deputy Healy.
Cllr Michael Murphy who is a member of Save Our Acute Hospital Services Ltd. said that going to the High Court was not something that any member of the Committee wanted but felt that they were left with no other choice.
“The decision to close the unit will put people at risk. We were willing to compromise on the number of beds and where the beds could be located, for example in the main South Tipperary General Hospital, that is why it is so disappointing that the HSE just want to close St. Michael’s.”
- Tipperary meet Clare in ladies football u-14 ‘C’ Munster final
- Death of former South Tipperary County Council member
- Glen of Aherlow make top five list of holiday destinations in the country
- Coroner warns financial institutions not to harasss people in debt
- Farmers urged to submit single farm payment form
Search for a job
Weather for Clonmel
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 8 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: South