ELDERLY residents at Clonakilty Community Hospital have been told to pack up their belongings and move from their long-stay rooms as the HSE plans to close eight beds.
The temporary bed closures at Mount Carmel are due to “unexpected sick leave”, exacerbated by the Government’s recruitment embargo.
Relatives of Mount Carmel residents said many of the elderly people “were very upset at having to move to another block as they see their rooms as being like a home away from home”.
One woman said: “Some of the older people were crying as the news was very unexpected and many of them had been in together in the same block for a while.
“Now they are being scattered to different parts of the hospital. Older people don’t like change, and certainly not having it sprung on them so suddenly. We were also told that the changes were permanent and not temporary,” one woman said.
It is feared locally that the ward closure will have wider ramifications with relatives concerned that respite and convalescent beds may be lost, as some of the long-stay patients transferred last week have been moved into respite beds.
Meanwhile, another ward was closed at the hospital earlier this year. It’s understood that the ward and the wider block are to be renovated in the months ahead. This could put even further pressure on beds, if beds have to be closed during renovations.
Last night, the HSE said the eight beds were shut by HSE South management due to staffing problems.
West Cork local healthoffice general manager Teresa O’Donovan said the hospital had little option.
“The current Government recruitment embargo means that we are not able to recruit replacement staff. To ensure safe levels of care for the older people currently being cared for at Mount Carmel, we have temporarily closed eight unoccupied beds – a mixture of both long-term and short-term beds.
“Regrettably this has meant that some patients have been relocated within the hospital, but no patient has been moved out of Mount Carmel,” Ms O’Donovan said.
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