The withdrawal of the preferred bidder assigned to the construction of the proposed 50 bed community nursing unit at Clonbrusk has resulted in a further delay to the long awaited development.
Speaking this week to the Athlone Advertiser, Cllr Frankie Keena, in his capacity as Dublin Mid Leinster Regional Health Forum representative, noted that in light of this recent development, the HSE is currently reviewing the next steps in terms of progressing the Public Private Partnership programme.
“It is very disappointing to hear that the preferred bidder has withdrawn from the construction process. It is a long number of years since this building project was first discussed and now that planning permission is granted, we should be at construction stage.
“I am very conscious of the escalating costs associated with capital building projects at the moment and thus on hearing this news of a delay I am now fearful that in sourcing a new bidder the overall costs will be significantly higher.
“I would have concerns with the impact that this delay may have on the December 2020 HIQA report on the existing residential St Vincent’s Care Centre where the relevant inspector observed ongoing non-compliance in relation to the availability of appropriate sanitary facilities and maintenance issues to cater for the needs of the residents.
A condition was placed on the registration of the centre to address this non-compliance by giving an extension of time for works to be completed by December 31 2021. There was a reference in the HIQA report to this new build at Clonbrusk by HSE management as the ultimate solution but now this is delayed which is an obvious source of much frustration.
Further to a query by Cllr Keena pertaining to the status of the proposed relocation of the South Westmeath Hospice facility to Clonbrusk, the HSE noted that the current delay to the proposed construction is proving problematic at this time.
“The HSE noted their availability to engage further with the South Westmeath Hospice committee on the community nursing unit development,” Cllr Keena concluded.