Use vacant beds for respite – Naughten

Vacant beds in the Sacred Heart Hospital should be used for respite for elderly people who are being cared for in their own homes, according to local Deputy Denis Naughten. Deputy Naughten called on the Health Services Executive (HSE) to release vacant beds in the Sacred Heart Hospital, and said that at present there are a number of vacant beds in the Sacred Heart Hospital in advance of the commencement of major refurbishment works in February 2008 and as a result the HSE do not want these beds occupied on a long term basis.  Deputy Naughten says these vacancies now provide an ideal opportunity to make additional respite beds available for elderly people who are being cared for in the community and who are entitled to the provision of two weeks respite.    ‘It has been difficult to avail of respite in the past due to the lack of capacity in the Sacred Heart Hospital and other long stay hospitals, but these refurbishment works can now provide some of these places between now and February, when the works are planned to commence. ‘Respite is a vital support for families and elderly in the community, and I would urge the HSE to ensure that these places are made available as soon as possible, rather that using the vacant beds as a cost cutting measure to address the overspend in its national budget.  ‘The elderly are not statistics, and leaving the beds idle for the next two months, will not lead to savings, as it will put additional pressures on other elements of our health service,’ concluded Denis Naughten.