Kieran Foley

Councillors in County Waterford have expressed disappointment at a response from the Minister of Health in relation to their concerns over St Brigid’s Hospital, Carrick-on-Suir.

There have been ongoing calls for the HSE to revisit its decision to discontinue the hospital’s role as a short-stay inpatient care facility. A campaign opposing the closure has attracted huge support within Carrick-on-Suir and surrounding areas.

At the January Comeragh District meeting of Waterford City & County Council, Councillors agreed to write to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly asking him to review the decision. Speaking at their February meeting, Cathaoirleach of the District Cllr Seanie Power (FG) described the reply issued on
behalf of the Minister as “similar to what we have already received”.

Cllr Declan Clune (Ind) described the response as a “standard letter” in which the details of the Waterford Councillors had been “copied and pasted onto the top”.

“I acknowledge we did get a reply, but its contents are very disappointing,” he said.

In the letter, the Private Secretary to Minister Donnelly states:

“As you are aware, a final decision has been made by the HSE to discontinue short stay services at St. Brigid’s Hospital. Unfortunately, they have decided that it is no longer feasible or sustainable to continue to operate St Brigid’s as a District Hospital from an infection, prevention and control perspective given the layout of the premises, the narrow hallways and the inadequate space and facilities. It is important to note that people in the Carrick-on-Suir area who require convalescent, respite and/or palliative care services are being assessed on a case-by-case basis and fully supported with referrals in alternative settings in the South Tipperary area including St Theresa’s Hospital -Clogheen, Cluain Arann – Tipperary Town, and Greenhills and Sonas nursing homes – Carrick-on-Suir.”

The letter goes on to reiterate that the HSE intends to convert the hospital into a community health centre for chronic disease management, including diabetes supports.