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The new hospital will replace long stay and short stay beds at St Joseph’s Ennis. Photograph by John Kelly.

Application for new €25m community hospital by end of June

ESB Apprentice Moneypoint

A PLANNING application for the construction of a new €25 million community hospital in Ennis to replace long stay and short stay beds at St Joseph’s will be lodged in the last week in June, the HSE has confirmed.

Responding to Clare Champion queries, the HSE has confirmed it also hopes to host a public consultation event about its plans on June 22.

There have been a number of false dawns in relation to this planning application, which was was previously supposed to be lodged last December.

If given the green light, the 100-bed community nursing unit will be situated on the grounds of a green field 5.09 acre site adjacent to St Flannan’s College.

A design team has completed an outline design phase of the project.

The unit will include 88 single and four twin rooms, and four palliative care facilities. The project has already been included for funding in the HSE Capital Programme 2021.
An allocation of €1.05 million has already been included for St Joseph’s in the HSE’s Capital Plan for 2022.

Acknowledging the provision of a new community hospital is long overdue, Deputy Michael McNamara said it is positive that a planning permission will be lodged for this new facility in the near future.

He recalled there has been investment in long stay facilities in Ennistymon and Raheen and hoped the HSE will progress this planning application as quickly as possible.

St Joseph’s Hospital, Ennis, is a designated centre for older people. Residents are accommodated in single and multi-occupancy shared accommodation bedrooms. The centre is divided into four units. The Ash unit can accommodate 25 male and female residents.

The Hazel unit is a 32-bedded female only unit, while the Alder unit is a 32-bedded, male only unit. The Holly unit is a 12-bedded dementia specific unit.

There is a refurbished corridor that links the Ash, Alder and Hazel units with a variety of communal rooms provided for residents’ use, including sitting, dining and recreational facilities.

Residents have access to an enclosed garden area. The centre provides accommodation for a maximum of 101 male and female residents, over 18 years of age.

Even though a number of HIQA inspection reports have outlined residents are happy with the level of care that is being provided, the lack of adequate accommodation to meet modern standards has been consistently flagged by the independent watchdog.

The independent regulator has found residents’ rights to appropriate standards of privacy and dignity is impacted on by the provision of insufficient personal space.

It stated this issue is outside the control of those working in the centre on a day-to-day basis and requires definitive action by senior HSE managers to effect the necessary action.

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