The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO ) has expressed concern regarding the sudden decision by HSE management to transfer “vulnerable patients” out of St Vincent’s Care Centre in Athlone.
Management at the centre cited health and safety reasons for this decision, indicating that there is an unsafe electrical fire risk involved. The INMO said that since such a serious safety risk was identified it supports the decision to move the patients to a safe environment.
However, the organisation has been critical of the short notice given in respect of this decision, noting that “it puts a great deal of stress on the residents”, for whom St Vincent’s is their long-term home.
“The provision of alternative care should have been planned, and emergency contingency arrangements agreed,” it said.
INMO industrial relations officer, Anne Burke, said: “While the provision of safe care is of primacy, we are greatly concerned that a decision was made to move residents at short notice. It would have been appropriate for HSE management to contact the INMO in advance of this in order to arrange appropriate contingencies for all patients and staff, and it is a matter of grave concern that they failed to do so.”
The HSE has issued written confirmation to all residents, families, and staff that they are “fully committed to having the electrical faults addressed and all residents and staff back in St Vincent’s by March 2017”.