16 Jan 2022

Government must make it explicitly clear HSE to retain all services at Dean Maxwell - Lowry

‘The people of Roscrea are being wronged’

Breaking: Tipperary TD Michael Lowry welcomes €270,000 Covid funding for Tipperary

Deputy Michael Lowry

Michael Lowry TD addressed the Dáil on the future of the Dean Maxwell community nursing home unit in Roscrea this week, telling the Minister for Public Expenditure, Michael McGrath TD, that he must retain the unit with all its full range of service. 

‘Minister, let me make it very clear. The future of Dean Maxwell is now a clear cut political decision. Dean Maxwell is doomed unless the Government make it explicitly clear to the Executive of the Mid-West HSE that it is Government Policy to retain Dean Maxwell with a full range of services.

'The HSE will not take the initiative to refurbish or replace Dean Maxwell unless it is directed to do so by Government’ stated Deputy Lowry when addressing the ongoing threat to the provision of residential care at the Dean Maxwell Community Nursing Unit in Roscrea in the Dail on Wednesday.

To Minister for Public Expenditure, Michael McGrath TD., Deputy Lowry said ‘You have provided an extra €1 billion under the National Development Plan for the purpose of restoring and expanding 88 existing nursing homes that do not meet HIQUA standards. Government must insist that an adequate portion of this fund is dedicated to Roscrea. Anything less would be a gross political abandonment of Dean Maxwell and the people of Roscrea.

‘The HSE by their own action and inaction have sold out on Dean Maxwell. The HSE are an agent of Government. They exist to implement Government Policy. It is time for the Government to issue a directive to save Dean Maxwell’

‘The time for sweet talk around the future of the Dean Maxwell is over.

‘It is time to put the cards on the table. To give people the facts. It’s time for this Government to tell the elderly people of Roscrea if it will overturn the recommendation of the HSE to rob Roscrea of the security of having a long-stay bed unit in their own town.

‘I have stated all along that, without Government intervention Dean Maxwell will be downgraded and not included by the HSE as one of these 88 Nursing Homes. Without a clear directive from Government the prospect of a new Dean Maxwell are slim to nil. If this decision is left solely to the HSE, the elderly people of Roscrea will lose it’s long-stay bed unit.

‘The HSE has it’s own agenda when it comes to elderly residential care in North Tipperary. Political prodding in the recent past ensured that a 50 bed residential unit would be built in Nenagh. This political maneuvering resulted in a plan for Nenagh with the full knowledge that it would downgrade Dean Maxwell.

‘The Dean Maxwell 25 beds were reallocated to make the Nenagh project viable. With the stroke of a pen the wellbeing and happiness of elderly people in Roscrea was dismissed. The attitude was ‘Move them to Nenagh – they’ll be fine twenty miles away from their families’

‘This was done in typical cloak and dagger fashion by the HSE. Queries were met with evasive responses. As time moved on queries were dealt with by fudging and dodging. The HSE stonewalled approaches for information and refused point blank to admit the true position. The HSE had their plans underway to close Dean Maxwell by stealth. They had neither the courage or the honesty to admit it.

‘As a result of consultation with HIQUA Dean Maxwell was recently granted a 12 month time extension. Again the HSE has not been honest and upfront. The reason patients are still resident there is because the new Unit in Nenagh is not built. Once it is ready patients will be transported from the place they now call home to a Unit that is 20 miles away from their families and friends.

‘Daily visits from family may become weekly, casual callers will fade away. Not every person has the means to make a 40 miles round trip every day to support their loved ones.

‘No new residents are being accepted in Dean Maxwell when a bed becomes available. That tells its own story.

‘The people of Roscrea are being wronged. The elderly are being sacrificed to make way for a new Nursing Home in another town. The people of Roscrea are angry. They are biding their time to see if this injustice will be put right.

‘Roscrea is a town of decent and hard-working people. It is a tight-knit community where people look out for one another. Caring for each other is a way of life to them and they are fiercely loyal to those they care about. Not one of them begrudges Nenagh a new facility. But they feel passionately that it should not be at the expense of elderly people in their town.

‘Were it not for the Pandemic every man, woman and child from the town would be on the streets in protest. Pleading for their relatives and friends.

‘In my political actions I always use reasoned arguments and logic. In the case of Dean Maxwell this approach has met with a deaf ear. If this obstinate response continues I will encourage and support the people of Roscrea in protest action’ concluded Deputy Lowry.

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