An invitation has been extended to An Taoiseach Enda Kenny to visit St Francis Community Nursing Unit (CNU) next Monday, 30 April.
The Taoiseach is due to officially open the new Galway City East Primary Care Centre in Doughiska and Independent city councillor Catherine Connolly this week issued an invitation for him “to see the situation for himself” at the nursing home.
The HSE first announced that it would seek to wind down its long-stay facilities and develop St Francis CNU into a day care facility in 2010, prompting residents and family members to mount a campaign to keep the unit open.
Campaigner Cllr Connolly said this week that the Taoiseach should “do the decent thing” and take time to visit the community nursing home when he is town next Monday.
“To date, the Minister for Health has repeatedly failed to visit the home while in Galway and not a single representative from the Labour Party visited St Francis, notwithstanding the holding of the Labour Party Conference in NUIG, a stone’s throw from the Community Nursing Home and notwithstanding 24,000 signatures calling on the Minister, the HSE West and the Local Government TDs to keep St Francis open. It would add insult to injury if the Taoiseach comes to Galway and not visit the home,” said Cllr Connolly.
She also said that the “silence” from the local Fine Gael and Labour TDs is astounding given that Galway City is about to lose its one and only public nursing home.
“Their silence is all the more shocking given that the Director of Primary Care herself has proposed a solution which would be a win-win solution for both the Regional Hospital and St Francis Community Nursing Home – that is re-designate the empty beds in St Francis as step down beds for the Regional Hospital, allocate extra staff and leave the remaining residents in their own home,” she said.
Cllr Connolly said there are currently five vulnerable elderly residents in St Francis who have “never asked to be moved from their home”.
The Regional Health Forum West member also said the fact that 17 patients were on trolleys at UHG on Monday while a “substantial number” of patients who should be in nursing homes occupy acute beds in the hospital at the same time as 30 beds remain idle in St Francis CNU highlights in the most acute way the “idiocy” of the decision to close the unit.