Fear Axe Hangs Over Midleton Hospital Respite Unit

By Seamus Whelehan

empty closed door

Concerns have been heightened an elderly care unit in East Cork will be closed for good.

The respite unit in Midleton was closed last December by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) over fire and safety concerns at the Community Hospital.

The health watch dog found the internal doors were too narrow at the former 19th Century workhouse.

The community facility that currently caters for 53 elderly was required to widen the entrance door to the respite unit for clients with walking aids and the wheelchair bound.

The East cork Journal understands the work was carried out soon after, but a follow-up inspection required additional double doors fitted in order to access the lift.

In a statement to the East Cork Journal the Health Service Executive say they “are committed to reopening the beds at Midleton Community Hospital as soon as possible. We hope to do so within a matter of weeks.”

While the HSE say the closure of the unit is a temporary measure, Cllr Danielle Twomey says health officials fear HIQA will not allow the 8 bed ward reopen.

The Sinn Fein Cllr said uncertainty is part of the problem, fearing HIQA do not understand the devastating effect a permanent closure of the unit would have.

“The unit has given cares much needed breaks from caring and elderly to socialise, which has been lost since December. Closing the short break unit permanently would only pile even more pressure on already stressed cares of the elderly.”