Still unopened 50-bed facility at Limerick hospital three years behind schedule

The facility remains unopened after three-year delays. Photo: Seán Curtin.

A NEW 50 bed-facility on the grounds of St Camillus Hospital is still not opened on the back of delays which have set the project back almost three years.

The facility is waiting for registration with HIQA and the hiring of extra staff to be deemed operational.

The Shelbourne Road facility will replace existing long-stay and respite beds at St Camillus Hospital.

The HSE unveiled plans for the new €18.9million state-of-the-art facility to cater for long-stay residents in August 2018 and it was envisaged at that time that the project would be delivered in three years.

At the announcement and public launch of the plan, HSE boss Bernard Gloster – who was at that time HSE Mid West Chief Officer – said: “These are not additional beds, they are replacement beds. We have approval to apply for planning I have no doubt that this project will be built and open with our residents living in it by the end of 2021.”

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The Limerick Post has been informed by sources close to the project that the new facility has been substantially finished for months now but, as yet, no residents have moved in.

In answer to queries from the Limerick Post, a spokeswoman said: “The new build will provide an improved environment for service users, their families, and staff, and will meet regulatory compliance (HIQA) standards.”

“The new building must be registered with HIQA before any resident can move into it. A schedule of works is being completed to finish out the building in line with HIQA requirements. Some additional staffing is also required to open the new building.

“We are committed to opening the new unit in the shortest possible time-frame.”

The project is part of the 2016 government-approved programme to bring long-stay public care facilities up to the highest standard.

St Camillus currently has 121 beds, 22 for rehabilitation and stroke, 21 for later life psychiatry, and 78 for care of the elderly, and it is these beds that are the focus of this project.

The existing site can be traced back to 1841 and the workhouse era. The current St Camillus was built in 1933 together with a mix of the 1841 buildings.

The spokeswoman did not comment on whether the facility, once ready, could be used in any capacity as step-down for patients to be discharged from University Hospital Limerick in Dooradoyle, which is constantly battling with overcrowding and demand in excess of bed resources.