New beds at St. Anthony's in Clonmel and St. Patrick's in Cashel.
Long stay residential health services are set for a major overhaul in South Tipperary with new facilities planned for Clonmel and Cashel.
A new ninety two bed facility will be provided on the St. Patrick’s campus in Cashel to replace the St. Clare unit.
Meanwhile in Clonmel the St. Anthony’s Unit will be replaced by a fifty bed new build.The projects will deliver forty new beds in total, twenty nine in Clonmel and eleven in Cashel.
Plans for the modern community nursing units were announced by the HSE and have been welcomed by local elected representatives.
In order to satisfy HIQA Environmental Standards and meet the requirements of residents and their families by 2021, the long-stay residential beds at both St. Patrick's Hospital, Cashel, and St. Anthony's Unit in Clonmel will be replaced with modern community nursing units.
A document formulated by the HSE and presented to Cllr Tom Wood and Health Forum colleagues states that deliberation had to be given to the division of beds within these units in order to best meet the needs of the population of South Tipperary, an area divided into two networks of approximately the same size.
Having prepared two possible options and after examining the strengths and weaknesses of both, the Health Service Executives preference was to proceed with 92 beds to be retained in Cashel with a further 50 to be located on a green field site at St. Anthony's in Clonmel.
According to the report, the provision of 29 additional beds in Clonmel, bringing the total to 50, would avoid a situation whereby individuals initially admitted to St. Patrick's Hospital in Cashel are transferred to St. Anthony's when a bed becomes available.
In responding to the presentation Cllr Wood told a meeting of Tipperary/Cashel municipal authority that prior to 2011 they had 121 beds in operation in Cashel and the initial Ministerial announcement just two years ago was for 100 beds.
Any reduction concerned him. With the preferred method of developing the nursing units by way of public/private partnership it worried him that those wishing to partake would look more favourably on a greenfield site while many of the present structures on the Cashel site were listed.
In the event of problems arising in that area Cllr Wood hopes the development would be built and funded by the HSE who had already confirmed to him at numerous meetings that the funding was ring fenced for the new Cashel facility.
In requesting more regular and informative meetings with the HSE on the proposed development Cllr Wood concluded: “there are still many questions to be answered and obstacles to be cleared but with Saint Patrick's recognised as a centre of excellence, a Nurse Management Structure long established there and the National Strategy for the Care of the Elderly stressing that to be viable a Unit needs to be specialist, we must ensure that the best possible facility is in place by 2021.”
Getting planning permission will be the next step, as there are certain protected structures on site, but there is a cautious welcome for the plans from staff and management, said Cllr Wood. If the plans are not progressed by 2021, St. Patrick's may be forced to close under HIQA rules.
Cllr Roger Kennedy said he was heartened to see the inclusion of the beds for South Tipperary. Planners do not see any major obstacle to demolishing some of the buildings on site, as most of the character of St. Patrick's is in the main building. “It should not lead to any major controversy. I look forward to it coming to fruition in the next few years. In particular the assessment unit is an excellent facility already on the ground.”
Deputy Michael Lowry welcomed the fact that there will be forty additional long stay beds provided in South Tipperary under the plan.
Deputy Lorwy said Cashel had current has a bed capacity of 81 and will see an increase of 11 beds. This increase will include a new 10 bed Male Dementia Unit in St. Patricks. This will bring the total bed capacity in St. Patricks Cashel to 92.
Clonmel currently has 21 beds in St. Antony’s; it is proposed to provide 29 additional beds in the Clonmel facaiity.
In total capacity in Clonmel will increase to 50. These 50 bed in Clonmel are planned to be place in a newly developed unit which will be built through a public-private partnership project on a green field site currently available adjustant to St. Anthony’s.
“The provision of 29 additional beds in Clonmel will assist in avoiding a current situation whereby individuals are initially admitted to Saint Patricks in Cashel while waiting for a bed to become available in St. Anthony’s.” said Deputy Lowry.