An artist's depiction of the proposed Roscrea Community Medical Campus
A war of words has erupted over the future of Roscrea’s Dean Maxwell Nursing Unit, after Deputy Michael Lowry announced, at a public meeting in the town, a new €15 million healthcare facility.
Deputy Lowry said he could unveil plans for a “Roscrea Community Medical Campus” to be located at the Malt House site close to the current Dean Maxwell Nursing Unit, at a general election public meeting in Roscrea on Thursday evening last.
However, these plans have since been challenged in a strongly worded statement by the HSE. The ‘meet the candidates’ event was hosted by the RCDC’s John Lupton (see p13).
“I revealed that plans have been drawn up for a proposed new 40-bed fit-for-purpose nursing home adjacent to the already approved new Primary Care Centre at the centrally located former Malt House site in the town,” stated Mr Lowry.
“There is an immediate threat to the future of the Dean Maxwell Home. I immediately identified the opportunity to move away from the commercial and residential plans in favour of the provision of an ultra-modern HIQA standard residential home for the elderly.
“I presented this suggestion to the developer who took my proposal on board. The developer took the proposal to the HSE and following detailed discussions with the relevant bodies, it was agreed to proceed and transform the original project into the Roscrea Community Medical Campus.
“I welcome input into the plans, which will be viewed privately by various local groups and people invested in the future of the Dean Maxwell on Thursday next, February 6. Plans will then be on public display, on Wednesday, February 12, at the Racket Hall Hotel from 5pm to 8pm,” said Mr Lowry.
In a statement, HSE Community Healthcare said they are “very concerned with claims by Deputy Michael Lowry regarding the future plans for the Dean Maxwell Community Nursing Unit.
“Contrary to statements made by Deputy Lowry, the HSE would like to clarify that they have had no formal discussions and have not received any proposal from any developer for a 40-bed unit at the site of the former Malt House in Roscrea.
“The HSE’s estates division is currently engaged with K&J Townmore Construction Ltd with regard to potentially putting in place an agreement for lease for 1,120 sqm of space for a primary care centre at the former Malt House site in Roscrea. The inclusion of a new HSE Community Nursing Unit in Roscrea is not part of this process. There is no agreement with the HSE to proceed and transform the original primary care accommodation project into a Roscrea Community Medical Campus as claimed.
“There are no ongoing discussions with the HSE regarding such a proposal.”
HSE Mid West Community Healthcare chief officer, Maria Bridgeman, stated: “the HSE is very surprised to hear such claims regarding such proposals on Dean Maxwell Community Nursing Unit and categorically refutes them.”
“Plans will progress”
Deputy Lowry has since hit back, saying the plans he announced will progress.
“It was never suggested at any point that a formal proposal was submitted to the Community Care Section of the HSE. I can confirm that the developer of this project, Mr Mike Darcy of MORE Healthcare, has previously advised the estate management unit at the HSE of their intentions.
“The company had informed the HSE that they are developing a plan to add a 40-bed Nursing Home Unit to the Malt House site, together with the Primary Care Centre already sanctioned for this site by the HSE. This proposal has been the subject of pre-planning meetings with Tipperary County Council.
“The developer remains fully committed to this project. Pre-planning consultations for the project are positive. An Taisce has commended the development in a letter from Mr Ian Lumley, planning and environmental policy officer, particularly with regard to the sensitive use of the existing structure at The Malt House. Local groups have acknowledged that this proposal is the only concrete one on the table at present.
“When all procedures are complete a formal proposal will be presented to the HSE.
“The HSE will then have the option to enter into a long-term lease to manage and run the facility as a public nursing home. This is the only realistic option to secure the future of the Dean Maxwell Home. The alternative suggestion of a new build on a green field site will take years to process with no guarantee of capital funding,” said Deputy Lowry.