Numerous attempts by members of the South Westmeath Hospice committee to engage in meaningful and productive talks with the HSE pertaining to the future of the facility have failed to come to fruition.
In a public statement released this week, South Westmeath Hospice Chairperson, Clare Lennon, noted that the committee had afforded due time to the HSE to commence talks on the pertinent issue but they have failed to engage in consultation.
"The Hospice committee acted in good faith when we suspended our 'Save Your Hospice' campaign to give the HSE time to fulfill their commitment to engage in positive consultation with the committee. We have patiently and respectfully pursued engagement with the HSE, however the inaction of the HSE to date demonstrates that the organisation is not actively engaged," Clare emphasised.
The proactive committee will now reinstate their 'Save Your Hospice' campaign with immediate effect and are calling upon members of the local public to positively interact with politicians regarding the future of the Hospice as they continue their General Election canvassing campaigns.
"We are now reinstating our 'Save Your Hospice' campaign and we want the people of South Westmeath to bring this campaign to the politicians canvassing for their votes. We want people to tell the politicians the Hospice is not saved and to ask them what they are doing to ensure its future.
"We believe the HSE are determined to close the South Westmeath Hospice as we have no evidence to suggest otherwise. This Hospice belongs to the people of South Westmeath. It was built with their money and we are fighting on their behalf to retain it, but we have effectively been ignored by the HSE for the last six months. We simply cannot and will not accept this manner of disengagement and complete disrespect for what the people of South Westmeath have built," Clare concluded.
This news of non-engagement by local HSE management with the South Westmeath Hospice committee with regard to the future of the facility has been described as an "extreme disappointment" by local Minister of State, Kevin 'Boxer' Moran.
“I am extremely disappointed with the news emerging from South Westmeath Hospice that they had to announce a lack of meaningful engagement with the HSE on securing the future of the facility.
“The news emanates after I previously arranged a meeting between the Hospice members and Health Minister, Simon Harris, last September, during which Minister Harris urged that common sense would prevail on the issue and for the HSE to enter meaningful engagement with the Hospice committee.
“I would strongly urge the HSE to engage in talks with the members of South Westmeath Hospice. The Hospice is ran by volunteers and I have been in touch with its Secretary, Joe Whelan, with regard to this pertinent issue this week.
“I have also requested an urgent meeting with Mr. Pat Bennett, Chief Officer, HSE Area Office to ascertain the local HSE’s view on this matter in light of the Hospice group statement. I will continue that fight for this very important and critical facility for the people of South Westmeath," Minister Moran concluded.