Virginia Health Centre Cavan

Virginia Health Care Centre

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There has been controversy at the HSE Forum in Kells concerning bed closures at Virginia Health Care Centre. Councillor Paddy Reilly stoked the flames of contention repeatedly. It is important to try to approach such issues dispassionately. The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) is an independent agency to enforce international standards in Irish health care. It has reported on designated centres for older people and made recommendations for appropriate changes to the physical environment, the medical, nursing and managerial practices in these institutions. It is an important safeguard for patients and those who demur and disagree should read the Leas Cross reports.

The HIQA report found that changes had to be made to comply with the 2007 Health Act – Regulation 19 on premises and standard 25 regarding the physical environment.

I quote “The communal space provided for residents was not suitable for the provision of social activities appropriate to the circumstances of individual residents. The management team with the support of the director of nursing are planning to convert a bedroom to a sitting room for residents separate from the dining room, convenient to toilet areas.

Wardrobes from this area will be transferred to provide extra personal clothing space for residents in their own bedroom.

This will reduce the number of beds in the centre.”

This HIQA report lead to a bed reduction as stated. I show photographs of the areas which speak for themselves.

I am less than impressed with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation listing the four bed closures in Virginia centre on their sin list dated 22 October 2010. Implementation of proper standards should not be mixed in with political bed closures.

On Wednesday 20th October, I visited the Virginia Health Care Centre unannounced. On entering the building, I met the staff having their tea-break and you can see the photo. They were very friendly to a walk-in Dub and their morale seemed high. I sought the nurse in charge and was taken around comprehensively by Drogheda Nurse Graduate Bernadette Lynch. She is an impressive lady and did not duck my questions. No administrator was present. It was one doctor and one nurse on tour. The building is impressive from the outside and clear and well maintained on the inside.. But the photographic evidence of the accommodation vindicates the HIQA report as accurate. Some of the patients are high dependency. Would anyone like to LIVE in the six bedded units that look like overcrowded acute hospital wards?

If there is a need for more beds at the centre, it is obvious that new building and further refurbishment would be necessary.

I have phoned Mr Leo Kinsella the manager responsible to tell him that I feel that the HSE has been fully vindicated in following HIQA recommendations. The Anglo Celt should let the people of Cavan know that their health centre is being altered to try to comply with best practice. I want to compliment the HSE staff and management of the Virginia Health Centre. I would take the love to see that set-up for our elderly in Finglas where I am elected. Unlike Virginia, we are still waiting for our centre of Excellence for the Elderly.

I enclose the HIQA report and a report from the Anglo Celt.