Taoiseach holds meeting on Dean Maxwell in Roscrea
An Taoiseach Michéal Martin met with representatives of the Dean Maxwell Action Group, RCDC, Age Action Roscrea and public representatives in Roscrea last Friday to discuss the future of the Dean Maxwell Nursing Home.
Also in attendance at the meeting was Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and Minister for Older People Mary Butler, together with officials of the HSE headed by Maria Bridgeman, Manager of the HSE in the Mid West. Deputy Michael Lowry, who facilitated the meeting and requested the Taoiseach to attend, was also in attendance, as was Deputy Jackie Cahill together local councillors Michael Smith and Shane Lee. The Dean Maxwell Action Group was represented by Anne Keavey, David Kiernan and John Lupton (RCDC).
Speaking following the meeting, which was chaired by the Taoiseach, Deputy Lowry said that the meeting marked a turning point for the future of Roscrea’s Dean Maxwell Nursing Home.
“There will be capital investment for Roscrea. We are now on a clear pathway to a satisfactory resolution,” he said. “The meeting was an excellent opportunity to address the needs of the people of Roscrea. We received a commitment that an overall service plan would be prepared and developed to cater for all aspects of elderly care.
“This plan will include the provision of long-stay beds designated for the town and parish of Roscrea. Dean Maxwell will continue to be central to health care delivery.”
Deputy Lowry said the meeting was “most encouraging and a turning point in gaining recognition to address the future of Dean Maxwell and a full and complete social care plan for the people of Roscrea. We are now on a clear pathway to a satisfactory resolution. I will continue to give this issue my time and attention.”
The Taoiseach concluded the meeting by saying that the progress in formulating a strategy will be reviewed again in three months time to see what progress the Departments and HSE have made.
‘ONLY A BEGINNING’
Following the meeting, Chairman of RCDC John Lupton said the meeting represented a new beginning as the principle of the right of Roscrea people to have a long-stay bed facility within the community is now accepted. “This had not heretofore been accepted, especially by the HSE,” he said.
“However, it is only a beginning and much strategic work and planning needs to be done over the coming months to determine how these long term stay beds will be provided in Roscrea, and this must be done in the context of a strategic plan by the HSE for services for older people in Roscrea to include the continuation of the day care centre and respite facilities.
“While we would all like to report a more definitive outcome, I think the meeting was very promising and worthwhile, and the principle of a long-term stay facility in Roscrea for Roscrea people, which was to be lost to the community, has now been restored,” Mr Lupton concluded.
Local councillor Michael Smith gave a guarded welcome to the progress. “The acid test in a democracy is how it caters for the most vulnerable in our society,” he stated.
“Since the 25 long-stay beds were swiped away with the stroke of a pen from the Dean Maxwell, many people in the Roscrea area were worried that hopes of having long-stay beds near their homes were no longer available. I have always advocated and fought for the HSE to secure investment for the development and enhancement of a new modern nursing home on its current site. I will never turn my back on this, or the fight for this facility, knowing how well the dedicated staff cater for the needs of the elderly and the attachment of families whose loved ones benefit from these excellent services.
“A major effort had been made by the action committee, other stakeholders and myself to prepare and design a plan that incorporates the potential of the existing site and additional lands now available,” Cllr Smith said. “This plan was agreed, and then recently presented at a meeting of An Taoiseach Micháel Martin, Minister of Health Stephen Donnelly, Minister of State Mary Butler, Department officials and the HSE. I am glad that the HSE have moved in their stance in relation to the provision of long-stay beds for our town and community, but it may well be at too great a cost.
“One matter seems to be abundantly clear: There is not one extra bed for the area of Roscrea.
“We have to work together to ensure that any proposals that are discussed are for the long-term future of elderly care in Roscrea. We also have to secure investment for the provision of services in the current Dean Maxwell Nursing Home.”