THE PEOPLE of Kilkenny look set to lose out on a hospice to neighbouring Waterford.
After years of fundraising and a heartfelt campaign in memory of the late Susie Long the HSE has confirmed that a hospice to serve the people of the Southeast will be built in Waterford and not in Kilkenny.
However local campaigners and fundraisers are committed that the plans for a hospice for Kilkenny will still come to fruition.
To date €642,000 has been raised by the Susie Long Hospice Fund towards the cost of opening a hospice in the Marble City in memory of the mother-of-two who died from bowel cancer in 2007.
Mayor Seán Ó hArgáin has slammed the decision which sees Kilkenny again lose out in services to Waterford.
“I hope that the situation in relation to a hospice in Kilkenny will remain top of the political agenda. I don’t believe that a hospice in Waterford will sufficiently serve the people of Kilkenny. There is a major need for a hospice in Kilkenny and I will continue to lend my full support to the SLHF,” he said.
Chairman of the SLHF, Tommy Roche has said that the charity will continue to lobby for a hospice locally.
“Members of the public donated their money in good faith to the Susie Long Hospice Fund towards a hospice for the people of Carlow/Kilkenny. That is how their money will be spent. The was set up with the specific aim of fundraising and lobbying for a hospice for the people of Carlow/Kilkenny. Members of the public donated money to the Fund in good faith in the belief that their contribution would be used for this purpose. That is exactly what the Fund intends to do,” he said.
“From it’s inception, the Fund has vowed to spend all donations on providing a hospice for the people of Carlow/Kilkenny. This is a medium term project and our fundraising efforts will continue until such a time as our goal is realised,” he added.
However the HSE has confirmed that their priority is to build a hospice to serve the people of the Southeast which will be located in Waterford.
Hospice for Waterford
The HSE has confirmed that the priority proposal is the development of a hospice on the grounds of Waterford Regional Hospital. The project is a collaboration between the Waterford Hospice Movement and the hospital. Currently the project is progressing to design stage with the planned development of a 20-bed Regional Specialist Inpatient Unit and Day Service in Palliative Medicine on the hospital grounds. The unit will act as a focal point for delivery of specialist palliative care inpatient, day services and community services to patients and their families in the South East.
The revenue cost of the hospice will be provided by the HSE and Waterford Hospice Movement who are significantly supporting the capital cost of the development and have collected €2.5million to date. The unit will be accommodated in the first two floors (both 900 square metres) of an overall five story integrated development in WRH. The ground floor will accommodate 20 single inpatient rooms and ancillary accommodation. The second floor will accommodate a Day Care Unit, consultation rooms, treatment rooms, therapy area, dining area and ancillary accommodation. A design team will be sought through shortly. Securing planning approval and completion of all pre-tender stage work will be expected to take approximately 12 months.