Hospice facility remains in limbo

by Gazette Reporter
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THE HSE has yet to approve funding to open the 24-bed in-patient facility at St Francis Hospice in Blanchardstown.
The hospice in Blanchardstown is currently open for day-care and out-patient services two days a week.
However, the in-patient facility has been equipped since building work was completed back in April 2011, but has remained closed.
The €22.5 million hospice, located beside Connolly Hospital, was built through fundraising by the St Francis Hospice Group on the basis that the HSE would fund the staffing and operational costs of the 24-bed in-patient facility.
However, funding for the in-patient facility has not been approved to date, with the HSE saying it is because of “current budget constraints”.
“As the HSE Dublin North East Regional Service Plan has yet to be agreed, there is currently no indication of funding to be approved for the Blanchardstown site in 2013,” a HSE spokesperson said.
Speaking to the Gazette this week, chief executive of St Francis Hospice, Ethel McKenna, said: “The HSE has indicated at this time that there is no provision at this stage for funding for the in-patient facility at St Francis Hospice in Blanchardstown.
“The hospice is built, and obviously we would love to see the facility open and available for people in the community.
“We are still in negotiations with the HSE for the revenue allocation for 2013 [which is for the day to day running of the hospice] – it is still work in progress. We expect to find out more by the end of January,” she explained.
Ethel went on to say that the St Francis Hospice will “continue to work closely with them [HSE] to get the beds open”.
During a regional health forum meeting with the HSE in November, Cllr Kieran Dennison (FG) asked about the estimated cost of opening the in-patient facility at the Blanchardstown based hospice.
In response to the local councillor, HSE area manager for north Dublin Anne-Marie Hoey said St Francis Hospice submitted an estimate bid of €4,449,578 in respect of the pay and non-pay cost of opening the 24-bed facility.
However, she noted that the estimate is “subject to review” by the HSE: “This estimate may be subject to revision based on maximising use of resources across the palliative care service on north Dublin.”
The cost of running the day care and out-patient services at Blanchardstown is €386,000 for a 12 month period from October 2011 to October 2012.
St Francis Hospice provides services of palliative care to people in north Dublin in the advanced stages of cancer and motor neurone disease, as well as support for families and friends.
The day care and out-patient services at the Blanchardstown based hospice opened in October 2011.

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