VIDEO: Hospice appeals for public support, saying HSE "reneged on all promises"
A dispute between the South Westmeath Hospice committee and the HSE over the future of hospice provision in Athlone has escalated further today.
In a hard-hitting video statement, the chairperson of the Hospice committee, Clare Lennon, said it was now fighting on behalf of the people of South Westmeath to "ensure that we prevent a serious wrong taking place".
The South Westmeath Hospice in the grounds of St Vincent's Care Centre was established with the support of substantial local fundraising, but the HSE is planning to close it and replace it with four palliative care beds in a proposed Community Nursing Unit in Clonbrusk.
"It should be noted that the HSE will be providing four palliative care beds in the new Community Nursing Unit which is the same provision of service that is currently provided in Saint Vincent’s Hospital, Athlone," said the HSE in a statement in recent days.
However, the voluntary Hospice committee is adamant that what's being planned for Clonbrusk will not mirror the quality of service currently in place.
"It appears that (the HSE) will not honour their commitment made in their letter of guarantee by providing a quality service that mirrors the service provided in the current South Westmeath Hospice facility in their plans for the new Clonbrusk facility," said Ms Lennon.
"Despite numerous hours at meetings, the time for negotiations is over.
"The HSE has reneged on all promises made and thrown out any progress made so far. We have to fight for the people of South Westmeath and that is what we are doing. It's up to the HSE now.
"We are appealing to all of you to support us in our efforts to ensure that we prevent a serious wrong taking place."
You can view the video of the Hospice committee's statement here: