Anger in Carrick-on-Suir over HSE “audit” of St Brigid’s District Hospital furnishings and equipment

Aileen Hahesy

Reporter:

Aileen Hahesy

 

St Brigid's Hospital, Carrick-on-Suir

Save St Brigid’s Hospital campaigners have criticised the HSE for placing labels on equipment and furnishings in the closed Carrick-on-Suir district hospital that appear to earmark them for other HSE hospital health care facilities in the county. 

Carrick-on-Suir Cllr David Dunne (SF) of the Save St Brigid’s Hospital action group said  stickers bearing the names of other healthcare facilities in the county have been placed on everything from beds and chairs to even kitchen appliances at the hospital. 

He said there was a lot of anger in Carrick-on-Suir that the HSE appeared to be moving so quickly to take out all the hospital’s furnishings and equipment. He accused the HSE of “asset stripping” St Brigid’s.  

Another Save St Brigid’s Hospital campaigner Catherine Foley, who has carried out several bed push protests over the closure of St Brigid’s District Hospital, has also criticised this latest development.

She said local families who did so much fundraising to improve facilities at St Brigid’s District Hospital were “heartbroken” at the prospect of the hospital's furnishings and equipment being sent elsewhere. 

The HSE South East Community Healthcare said a comprehensive audit of the interior of St Brigid’s Hospital was underway in line with the repurposing of the building. 

A HSE spokesman said this audit has not yet been completed. 

In a statement issued before Christmas, the HSE explained it was closing St Brigid’s District Hospital in light of stricter Covid-19 infection prevention and control guidelines. 

The HSE  plans instead to develop a community healthcare centre for chronic disease management in the hospital building. 

This out-patient facility will specialise in supporting people with diabetes. 

The HSE cited the hospital’s layout including narrow hallways, inadequate space and facilities available in two wards of five beds each as the reasons why it didn’t meet infection control guideliness for in-patient care. 

The hospital has been closed since last April, shortly after the HSE redesignated it from a district hospital providing respite, convalescent and palliative care to  a step-down  facility for recovering Covid-19 patients. Its doors were initially closed due to a lack of Covid-19 patients in the region requiring step-down care and St Brigid's staff were redeployed to work in other healthcare facilities.