The future of Athy’s St. Vincent’s Hospital looks positive after the Government announced a new €75,000 feasibility study for a 100-bed unit, according to TD Jack Wall.
Last Friday April 11, the Deputy welcomed confirmation that the money will be provided this year to commence the study on a new facility adjacent to the current site.
“The study will be completed this year with an expectation of capital funding being provided if the feasibility study recommends it,” explained Deputy Wall.
It is not yet clear if the new facility will replace the current facility. These decisions will be based on the outcome of the study, which will determine the needs of the area.
“This is a wonderful prospect for the town of Athy and its hinterland. I have always stated that the staff and management of St Vincent’s hospital are amongst the most dedicated and professional carers that we have,” said Deputy Wall.
“The fact that this money has being set aside for such a feasibility study shows the potential for development at the hospital. My understanding is that arrangements are being put in place to carry out the study at the site around the current hospital which has massive potential.”
He said he looked forward to a positive study and he congratulated the management for the continued way they have promoted the potential of the hospital. He stressed the strong reputation of the staff ensured that such a study could be considered.
A special committee of health experts will now be established to undertake the study.
The centre has capacity for 125 residents. It provides long term residential care for people over 65 years, including three beds for care for young people with chronic illness and a dementia specific unit , including beds for respite.
There is also a day care centre.
St. Vincent’s serves a large area and is the only public nursing home in Kildare apart from one in Maynooth, and another in Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow, which takes in some clients from the county.
There have been concerns in the past about the future of the hospital and protests against possible cuts in services took place.
The Minister for Health, James Reilly subsequently came down and put those fears to rest, according to Deputy Wall. Management at St. Vincent’s Hospital declined to comment as they are bound by HSE protocol.