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Laois politicians report ‘positive’ meeting with HSE officials on the future of Abbeyleix Hospital

Abbeyleix Hospital
Abbeyleix Hospital

Laois politicians were happy following a meeting with HSE officials on the future of Abbeyleix Hospital which took place recently.

The primary purpose of the meeting was to ensure the restoration of the Day Care Centre at Abbeyleix Hospital which has provided an excellent service for all of South Laois.

There has been a major investment of €4million by the HSE in Abbeyleix Hospital in recent times.

This will facilitate new services in Abbeyleix which were not there up until now. There will be 18 new stepdown beds in Abbeyleix for people leaving the hospital in Portlaiose.

In addition to this there will be 9 new respite single ensuite bedrooms and 1 long stay bedroom also in the hospital.

The HSE said they expect the works in the hospital to be completed before mid-year with day services and the respite beds in full operation before then.

The HSE was represented by senior management from the Community Health Organisation Section, Acute Hospital Section and the Estates/Building Section.

Representing the local community were TDs Sean Fleming and Brian Stanley, Cllrs John Joe Fennelly, Ollie Clooney and John King plus Doctor John Madden from Abbeyleix.

Deputy Fleming said: “Some of the new stepdown beds will not be required for quite some time and the HSE accepted our proposal that the Day Care Service be provided on an interim basis in this section of the building which will not be in full use for the foreseeable future.

“This will give the HSE time to have a new upgraded day care service provided on a permanent basis as soon as possible.

“The exact location of the permanent new Day Care Centre has not been confirmed but we were all unanimous that it should be provided on the existing site in Abbeyleix.

“Negotiations are currently underway in relation to the staff rota in Abbeyleix. When all these new facilities are in place it is absolutely clear that not only will all existing staff be required but additional new staff will have to be recruited for the increased level of activity in Abbeyleix.

“The HSE developed a plan for all the facilities in Abbeyleix prior to Covid. Since then, work has progressed on the provision of the 18 stepdown beds which was not part of the original plan prior to Covid.

“Accordingly they confirmed they are now undertaking an update to the plan to take account of this and the additional location for the Day Care Services together with a new Primary Care Centre which is much needed in Abbeyleix.

“All of this will result in a major Health Care Campus in Abbeyleix which will secure the hospital and all the services for decades to come.

“Finally, I want to thank all my colleagues who attended the meeting and the HSE for their positive approach and we look forward these facilities coming onstream as soon as possible, especially the full restoration of the Day Care Services.”

While Deputy Brian Stanley said: “The outcome of the meeting today with Laois public representatives and HSE management is reasonably positive.

“The Day Care services had been terminated on site and the HSE were looking for alternative premises in South Laois.

“They have now committed to reopen the services on the hospital site in the second quarter of this year. Day care services has always been there at the hospital and the reinstatement of them is great news.

“There was a lot of discussion on bringing the hospital back to full capacity. In the recent past there has only been a quarter to one third of the 28 beds in use.

“Management outlined their plan for recruiting Senior Clinical Staff. I made the case strongly to them to also utilise the nursing and care staff that are already there to staff it.

“18 of the beds in the hospital are designated for use for intermediate care for people being discharged from Portlaoise and Tullamore Hospital and there is a fear that the existing staff in Abbeyleix would not be used to staff these beds.

“Management gave a commitment to utilise the existing staff, some of whom have been in the hospital for several decades. The staffing issue is now subject to a roster review and the situation is more hopeful.

“The HSE have committed to developing the site as an integrated care hub and this is positive as it will ensure there will be a range of services available.

“Considering the Hospital is on a 5 acre site and there has been €4m investment in refurbishment of it in the recent past, full use need to made of it.”

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