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thomas o brien

The E8m contract for the first phase of long-awaited development works at Our Lady’s Hospital in Cashel will begin in the next few weeks and should be completed before the end of 2003.

The South Eastern Health Board announced last week that approval was finally received from the Department of Health and Children for the project to proceed. The tender documents were signed and sealed at the May meeting of the SEHB last week, where members welcomed the news.

Work will commence within the next few weeks and is expected to take approximately 16 months. The main contractors are PJ Walls Limited, Dublin. The new buildings will be carried out in a sequence that maintains the existing hospital services.

The Phase 1 development will consist of a 20 bed unit for elderly mentally infirm people and people with Alzheimer’s Disease. A 25 place day care centre and 12 independent living units and respite places for people with physical disabilities will also be included.

Other facilities set up will be a Day Hospital and day care centre and 12-place supervised accommodation for Mental Health Care services. Cashel will become the sector headquarters for Mental Health Care Services in the local area.

Phase 2 of the development will result in the existing three-storey hospital being upgraded and refurbished and the construction of a new extension to the main building.

Speaking at the signing of the contract last week, John Magner, Acting CEO of the SEHB said it was an important day for South Tipperary: “This development will improve existing services for the people of South Tipperary. Phase One will particularly target services for the elderly, people with physical disabilities and mental health services,” he said.

“We look forward, in time, to the approval to proceed with Phase 2 of the project, which will result in developments in geriatric rehabilitation, GP assessment and rehabilitation, palliative care, radiology, pharmacy, reception, administration and waiting areas.”

“The new extension to the main building will include a new hospital for the elderly and day care centre, new 15 bed convalescent unit and new outpatient department,” he said.

Mr Magner acknowledged the input of everyone involved in making the project a success: “I particularly wish to thank all local hospital management and staff for their ongoing support, especially the Project Manager, Eamonn Lonergan,” he added.

Also at the May meeting of the Board, the current condition of St Michael’s Psychiatric Unit in Clonmel was unacceptable, with paint peeling off the walls and no visitor facilities, a Board member said.

“South Tipperary is providing psychiatric facilities for South and North Tipperary in dismal conditions,” said Cllr John Coonan, the psychiatric nurses representative on the Board.

“There is huge pressure on staff in these unacceptable conditions. I want a commitment that priority will be given to South Tipperary patients in acute care and psychiatric care,” he said. Psychiatric facilities would be provided in Phase 2 of the development of St Joseph’s Hospital, but staff were not prepared to wait that long, he said.

Cllr Coonan acknowledged that the SEHB had already provided a ECT unit at St Michael’s after pressure from Board members in the past. Cllr Michael Deering said that the current dilapidated situation at St Michael’s had been going on for 30 years.

Acting CEO of the Board, Mr Magner said that the Board had committed funding for new facilities at St Michael’s to serve patients from South Tipperary only. A new psychiatric unit in Nenagh would be up and running later this year or early in 2003. Long-stay patients would then be relocated from Clonmel to Nenagh.

Mr Magner said that the Board had gone to tender for the upgrade work at St Michael’s and was considering tenders applications at the moment

taken from the nationalist .
took a drive up to the site today all thats left is a big pile of rubble. there was very little coverage in the local media.. everyone is pretty preoccupied with the proposed construction of an incinerator in rosegreen that is to dispose of the countries meat and bone waste and commercial waste. if into ecology check out the nationalist …its pretty serious issue for all of us.

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