Supporting Local News

Nursing home beds remain closed over staff shortage

Thirteen beds remain closed at a HSE-run community nursing home in Conamara because of staff shortages since the pandemic.

The HSE has confirmed that it cannot open the beds at Áras Mhic Dara in An Cheathrú Rua due to “difficulties recruiting staff”.

Sharon Glynn, HSE West Head of Older Persons Services, said staff challenges were continuous in rural areas, and particularly in Gaeltacht areas where staff needed the Irish language.

“We’re down eleven staff since Covid,” said Ms Glynn at the latest HSE West Regional Health Forum.

She indicated that the HSE “need six more (nurses) at least” before it can reopen beds at Áras Mhic Dara.

Ms Glynn said there was a rolling recruitment campaign for staff nurses, and the HSE was also “looking to international recruitment” to fill the vacancies.

Tony Canavan, CEO of Saolta University Healthcare Group, said the organisation he leads employs 12,700 staff across hospitals in the West and North West. That headcount would increase again this year, he said, indicating the organisations are competing for staff.

Meanwhile, Ms Glynn confirmed to Galway County Councillor Daithí Ó Cualáin (FF) that she hoped the day centre at Áras Mhic Dara would reopen this coming April.

The centre provided social activities and respite for older people and their carers during the day but it shut during the Covid-19 Pandemic and has not reopened.

Cllr Ó Cualáin said it was a vital service and should be reopened.

Ms Glynn said the HSE recognised the importance of the service, and the centre and management are committed to reopening it by the end of April, “subject to staffing being available”.

Cllr Ó Cualáin said he was worried when the word ‘hope’ was used.

“I hope to win the Lotto but that doesn’t mean it is ever going to happen,” he said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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