90-bed project ‘scrapped’

Labour senator Ged Nash has branded a ‘u turn’ by the government in developing a new 90-bed facility at St Mary’s on the Dublin Road as ‘nothing short of a disgrace.’

He has been informed that work will start before the summer of next year on a new dementia specific residential building on the green space at St Mary’s campus to accommodate 30 residents.

The second phase of the project will start in 2020 and will include renovation works to St Mary’s Hospital.

Currently there are 61 beds between Boyne View (23) and St Mary’s (38) and the new development will have 60 beds.

“I had campaigned, with others, for this investment since 2011 and ultimately secured a commitment in the Health Capital Programme (2016-2021) that the then combined 64 beds on the Dublin Road site would be replaced by a brand new building coupled with the extensive refurbishment of the St. Mary’s facility providing for a total of 90 beds by 2020.

“This plan was signed off by government and published on the 26th January 2016 by the then Health Minister Leo Varadkar. Almost €7m was ring-fenced for this crucial project for older people and their families in Drogheda. Instead, what we will now see is a net loss of 1 bed (61 down to 60), and the agreed plans for an extra 26 beds scrapped.

“When we expect to see increased resources going to health projects like this as the economy continues to grow, under Fine Gael we are instead seeing an elder care model involving continued excessive reliance on the private provision of care at the expense of public models.

“I have no doubt that we will be told by government and the HSE that extra beds will be secured in the future under the next investment programme (the 2021-2026 Capital Plan), but those beds are needed now. That’s why they were included in the 2016-2012 plan.

“Very serious questions must be answered as to why this promised project was scrapped.”

Drogheda Independent