Updated: 01/02/18 : 06:06:24
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HSE attitude to Sligo patients’ families raised in Dáil

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

TWO PATIENTS resident in a Sligo care unit for dementia have been there for thirty years between them.

Now patients’ families are being “coerced” to move, Sligo TD Marc MacSharry told he Dáil yesterday, Wednesday

The phrase used by the HSE is that the patients are being “transitioned out.”

But the Sligo TD said the HSE seemed “hell bent” on driving the patients and families towards finding private care.

The services, he felt, were ones which should be provided by the State.

Drew Sympathy

Deputy MacSharry recalled for colleagues how the Alzheimer’s Unit at St John’s Hospital was opened as a dedicated centre 20 year ago.

The ugliness of the Sligo situation seemed to draw sympathy from Catherine Byrne, standing in for the junior minister at Question Time.

She undertook to convey Deputy MacSharry’s concerns to the junior Minister concerned. 

Non Compliances

Said Deputy MacSharry “The backdrop here is that the Mental Health Commission or HIQA did a report some time ago.

“They found in the region of 13 non-compliances with regard to upgrades that might be required and so on. 

“Since then, it seems that a HSE or Government decision was made to wind down and close this unit,” MacSharry claimed.

This would leave the entire north-west region without a suitable unit for respite or long-stay residents with Alzheimer's disease with a dedicated staff as this one was. 

Families Coerced

Continued MacSharry yesterday: “There are now four of the 36 residents remaining.

“I got an email from the HSE last week stating that these people would be transitioned out and so on. 

“In reality, what has happened up to Monday of this week is that families were effectively coerced and told to remove their loved ones,” said the Sligo TD.

Families were told, said MacSharry, “that it was a matter for them to deal with, that the unit was closing and that was the end of the story.”

Later yesterday, MacSharry told the Dail: “The families I have spoken to have been told to get their loved ones out of the place.”

“(This is) totally unacceptable. The loved ones of some of these families have been living in this particular unit quite happily, including one for ten years and another for the 20 years it has existed.

Deputy MacSharry told the Dail the response which Minister Byrne said had been prepared for her was “totally inadequate.”

Link: Dail Debate 31/1/2018, Hospital Closures.


Link: Sligo Today 26/1/2018