Hundreds protest to keep respite ward open in Cherryorchard Hospital. The hospital wants to close a ward of 16 beds from now until October because they claim they can't find the staff to cover annual and maternity leave. Hundreds of people, carers and their families with the support of People Before Profit took part in a protest on Friday 3rd July.
Cherryorchard hospital cannot find qualified nurses to cover staff leave even when 416,000 are on live register.
Carers and their loved ones who receive roll-over respite care in Cherryorchard Hospital have been informed by the HSE that the newly refurbished Beech Unit at Cherryorchard Hospital is to close indefinitely. The management at the hospital have said that the closure of the Beech Unit is due to staff shortages for the Summer months. However, management at Cherryorchard Hospital could not give any guarantees as to when it will reopen.
The carers and their families with the support of People Before Profit held a protest on Friday 3rd July last at 4pm.
Three senior members of the Hospital management including Eoin Halpin CEO of Cherryorchard Hospital held a meeting inside the hospital with local councillors and carers of patients of the specialist Beech Unit. Family members gave harrowing accounts of the devastation the move would have on loved ones with Alzheimers and dementia. One woman from Clondalkin described the impact of the proposed transfer of her husband to a private facility. She has no means of transport and would have to get a bus into town and another bus out to visit her husband as there was no public transport to the alternative. She felt the proposed transfer was grossly unfair and insisted that the care that had been received was excellent and didn't want the transfer.
Another couple described the inappropriateness and lack of security for their family member who being transferred was very confused by the move. Carers who were part of the delegation were understandably upset and angry. They wanted to know why hospital management did not plan for the annual and maternity leave. They wanted to know how many staff were actually required to cover the staff holidays and identified that 25 people going on holidays did not require 25 new replacement staff.. They wanted to know how the hospital could not find the staff when there's 416,000 on the live register. They wanted to know why the hospital is shutting a ward when they've just carried out expensive refurbishments on that specialist ward.
Hospital management were unable to answer these questions but answered that they had tried all avenues and could not find any specialist staff. they then revealed that they couldn't hire people because of the staff embargo. They said that patient health and safety were paramount but did not confirm if a risk assessment had been carried out especially for this transfer of patients but that they have a continuous monitoring of health and safety.
After the delegation came out an impromptu meeting was held to discuss the next steps of the campaign. Looks like the protests will not be stopping anytime soon.