The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) have expressed their deep concern in respect of the sudden decision by HSE management to transfer vulnerable patients out of St Vincent’s Care Centre in Athlone. Management have cited health and safety reasons for this decision, indicating that there is an unsafe electrical fire risk involved. The INMO’s priority is to ensure that a safe and high standard of care is given to all the residents in St Vincent’s. Accordingly, as such a risk has been identified, the INMO would support the decision to move the patients to a safe environment.
However, the INMO remain very concerned about 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.
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. We will be meeting HSE management at the earliest opportunity, where a number of issues will be put, and seeking confirmation that the closure of the centre is only temporary, and that St Vincent’s will reopen in the shortest possible time.
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. INMO will be demanding concrete evidence that such a dramatic disruption to the lives of residents and staff was absolutely necessary when we meet management. This meeting must happen as a matter of urgency.”
An INMO members meeting has been arranged for tomorrow (Thursday) evening, and the INMO are scheduling a meeting with management at the earliest possible time.