Clondalkin family furious as disabled patient denied transport

by Padraig Conlon

A furious Clondalkin family have accused the HSE of ignoring them and treating their loved one “appallingly” in a row over transport.

Wheelchair bound Martha O’Connell, 65, is mentally and physically disabled and lives with her sister Ann and brother in law Pat O’Hara in Rowlagh.

Martha O Connell

Back in 2006, Ann and Pat took Martha out of care in Cheeverstown, as it was deemed not suitable for her, and took her into their home.

She then attended services in Walkinstown until her family were notified that she was actually in the catchment area for Stewarts Care in Palmerstown.

When she initially started as a service user in Stewarts Care three years ago, she was deemed only entitled to two days a week.

Her family fought successfully for her to receive care four days a week at the local facility, which they assumed would include transport to and from Stewarts.

However, they were told Martha can’t get access to transport because of “budgetary issues”, meaning Patrick and Ann have to use public transport twice a day to get her to day services at Stewart’s.

Pat O’Hara explained to Dublin Gazette their daily itinerary for when he or Ann accompany Martha to Stewarts.

“We have to leave the house at 8.40 in the morning, and then get the number 40 bus to Cherry Orchard, then the 18 to Stewarts, we don’t get home until 10.30,” Pat said.

“Then in the afternoon to bring Martha home, we have to leave home at 2.20 to get the number 23 bus to Stewarts, then the 18 or 40 back, we don’t get home until around 4.00.

“We do this four times a week.

“It’s disgraceful and it’s a ridiculous, frustrating situation because we only live 15 minutes away from Stewarts.

“I hate to use the word “entitled” but Martha really is “entitled” to be collected and brought home from Stewarts to avail of services.

“Everyday, I see loads of empty buses parked up at Stewarts.

“When we asked why she wasn’t entitled to transport from Stewarts, we were told there were “budgetary issues” regarding funding and it was a HSE matter.

“I had a meeting with Stewarts about this around four months ago and they told me they’d get back to me, but here we are four months later and they still haven’t got back to me.

“The HSE just ignores us, we have truly hit a brick wall.

“It’s so unfair that Martha is being treated so appallingly.”

A spokesperson from Stewarts Hospital told Dublin Gazette that it is not in their “remit” to provide transport for service users.

“Transport is quite simply a HSE matter,” they said.

“It is not within our gift to provide transport unfortunately.”

Dublin Gazette contacted the HSE regarding Martha’s case, this is their reply: “The HSE cannot comment on individual cases.

“Maintaining a patient’s confidentiality is not only an ethical requirement for the HSE and all Section 38 funded agencies, it is also a legal requirement as defined in the Data Protection Acts (1988) and (2003).

“When a patient or family makes personal information public, this does not relieve the HSE and all HSE funded agencies of its duty to preserve/uphold patient confidentiality at all times.

“The HSE are always happy to discuss any aspects of a patient’s care directly with the patient or their family members.”

Related Articles