There is frustration in Clifden at the HSE delay to lodging planning permission for a new hospital in the town.
Government approved €35m for a new community nursing home to replace the residential services at the current Clifden District Hospital and St Anne’s community nursing home.
And Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler confirmed this summer during a visit to Connemara that a planning application would be lodged for the new 40-bed facility by October.
But October and November have come and gone, and the application for planning permission hasn’t yet been lodged.
Galway County Councillor Eileen Mannion (FG) said she contacted the HSE in early November for an update on the project and was told there would be a meeting on November 7.
But since then, there has been no communication and no explanation as to why the application had not been submitted to planners at County Hall.
“The sooner the planning application is lodged the sooner it can be built, if approved. I don’t understand what the delay is.
“This has dragged on too long and there is frustration. The Minister said in August that a planning application would be lodged before the end of October, but it hasn’t been,” said Cllr Mannion.
The new build will allow for the provision of long-term care (currently provided in St. Anne’s) and convalescence and step-down care (currently provided in Clifden District Hospital) on the one site in a state-of-the-art facility.
The new unit will have a total of 40 beds including 20 long-stay beds, ten dementia-specific beds, and ten short-stay beds including for respite and step-down care.
A new community nursing unit for Clifden was contained in the HSE’s Community Nursing Unit Programme, which was launched in 2016.
“The planning application needs to be lodged as soon as possible,” said Cllr Mannion.
Meanwhile, the HSE confirmed this week that it was ‘pausing admissions’ to respite and short-stay beds at Clifden District Hospital for Christmas, from December 16 to January 7.
This was due to “ongoing staffing challenges”, and to allow staff go on leave.
“We have been unable to source sufficient agency staff to cover this time. Maintenance works will be undertaken on the Unit during this time including painting,” the HSE said in a statement. The hospital will remain open for Day Care and other services will continue as normal, it said.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:
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