Carrick-on-Suir River Rescue volunteer Catherine Foley,
A bed push from South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel to St Brigid’s Hospital in Carrick-on-Suir will take place this Saturday to raise awareness of the need to reopen Carrick's district hospital.
Carrick-on-Suir woman Catherine Foley, a volunteer with Carrick-on-Suir River Rescue, is to take on this 23.5 km challenge.
Catherine will push a hospital bed leaving from South Tipperary General Hospital at 8am on Saturday morning and will take a break in Kilsheelan.
She will continue her route to Carrick-on-Suir along the N24 and expects to be passing Treacy Park around 3pm and will then finish up at St Brigid’s Hospital.
Up until the Covid-19 pandemic crisis earlier this year, St. Brigid’s provided convalescent, respite and palliative care for older people in Carrick-on-Suir and its hinterland including the neighbouring counties of Kilkenny and Waterford. It was designated by the HSE as a step-down unit for recovering Covid-19 patients in April this year but closed a few weeks later due to a lack of Covid-19 patients requiring convalescence.
A series of protests calling for St Brigid's to be reopened as a district hospital took place on Saturdays during the summer months. The previous Minister for Health Simon Harris and his successor Stephen Donnelly have given assurances that St Brigid's will reopen in its former role but gave no dates for that to happen on the grounds of concerns about a second wave of the virus requiring it to be used again as a step-down facility for recovering Covid-19 patients.
Catherine agrees with the need for facilities to accommodate those suffering and recovering from the Covid-19 virus but argues closing St Brigid’s has had a traumatic impact on the local community, who can no longer avail of the excellent and much needed services the hospital provided for the older people of the town and its environs.
“St. Brigid’s is a little hospital in a little town and we urgently need it back for our older community for respite, convalescence and palliative care services,” she said.
“This is all we have in our town which has a great community, who have all fundraised over years and years to help build up this brilliant facility.
St. Brigid’s Hospital has been used by many families in the Carrick-on-Suir area who have been able to visit relatives and friends recuperating there or have had the privacy to be with their loved ones being cared for in the hospice rooms.”