Dean Maxwell Nursing Home in Roscrea
The Taoiseach has agreed in the Dail to a request by Deputy Michael Lowry to visit Roscrea to meet with members of the local Action Group who have been staging a long-running battle to maintain long-stay beds at the Dean Maxwell Community Nursing in Roscrea.
The Tipperary Deputy has requested that this visit take place in the immediate future and will also be attended by Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD and Minister for Older People, Mary Butler TD.
During Leader’s Question in the Dail on Wednesday, Deputy Lowry said he will not give up on the fight to maintain long-stay care for the elderly people of Roscrea.
"The people of Roscrea deserve the security and comfort of knowing that their own and their family members’ lives can be lived out in their own town. This has been the case for generations. ‘We have one last opportunity to redeem the future of Dean Maxwell. It can only be saved through political intervention and direction," stated Deputy Lowry.
"Taoiseach, I am requesting your personal intervention to remedy this injustice. I suggest that you Taoiseach, Minister Donnelly and Minister Butler would meet with representatives of the local Action Group. At that meeting the local Committee will outline the footprint of an alternative viable proposal to protect and enhance services and supports for the elderly population of Roscrea.
"We have been through all the glib explanations and excuses. The truth is that the 25 long-stay beds were covertly transferred from Roscrea to justify the building of a new 50 bed Nursing Home unit in Nenagh. The elderly patients from Roscrea were just used to make up numbers. The human cost was irrelevant.
"The HSE has never engaged in a transparent fashion. Queries were met with evasive responses. The HSE stonewalled approaches for information and refused point blank to admit the true position. The HSE has been implementing a policy of closure by stealth. They had neither the courage nor honesty to admit it.
‘As I speak, a group of elderly people are worried and anxious about what the future holds for them. Older men and women are being reduced to tears of despair at the thought that the place they call home will be snatched away from them. They are troubled and unsettled at the idea of being moved to a different town. To a place that is some 20 miles away from family and friends. To a place that will end their lifelong connection with their hometown. The voices of these people have remained unheard since all this began. They have no desire to move to a Unit in Nenagh. They seem to be irrelevant to the HSE.
"Loyal and committed staff have been kept in the dark. The HR Department have convened a meeting of staff for next Wednesday presumably to advise them on their options on redeployment.
"The voices of those who have spoken out for Dean Maxwell and petitioned their case, feel ignored and abandoned. They are now ready to take to the streets in protest and solidarity with the patients and staff of Dean Maxwell. Government and the HSE will see the true community spirit and fierce loyalty that Roscrea is renowned for. The people of Roscrea are united in defiance’ Deputy Lowry told the Taoiseach.
The Taoiseach acknowledged that Deputy Lowry has been consistently raising this issue and also that he is aware of the depth of feeling amongst the people of Roscrea. He said that the Dean Maxwell "does serve the community very well, it’s in the centre of the town which facilitates people to visit those who live in the facility and this is important to residents. I know that Minister Butler has put a lot of work into this and we will engage with the HSE as well to get a workable solution."
Deputy Lowry emphasised that time is of the essence. "I accept that Minister Butler has been working on this. What is on offer in the latest proposal is very welcome, but it stops short of what we want. The nub of the issue is that we want to retain a complement of long-stay community Nursing Home beds. If that was added to the additional plan we could move forward."
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