Minister Asked to Come Clean on Blanchardstown Hospital

Joan Burton TD has demanded that the Minister for Health, Micheal Martin TD and his Junior Minister, Brian Lenhian TD should come clean on when the extension to James Connolly Memorial Hospital, Blanchardstown will be fully functioning and open to the general public.

Public money to the tune of €90 million has been spent on the re-furbishment of the hospital and the building of a new wing. The building is now finished but has remained empty with no signs of when exactly it will be fully commissioned. Minister Lehinhan has recently promised to get an additional €5 million to fit out the new building and to possibly open the building “on a phased basis” starting in June. However, in a statement to Deputy Burton, the Northern Area Health Board acknowledged that there are on-going negotiations with staff, particularly in the psychiatric services, about the opening of the new psychiatric unit.

Deputy Burton said, “I am extremely concerned by reports from the psychiatric nurses annual conference that the new purpose built unit is highly defective and might constitute a danger to their members or indeed to future patients.”

“I am also astonished by the allegation by the psychiatric nurses that nursing staff were not consulted in the design of the new unit and if they had been, the design faults could have been rectified.
This is an incredible allegation, at a time when the Northern Area Health Board has spent millions of public money on increased administration and yet cannot seem to properly oversee design basics and consultation with users.”

The Staff of JCMH give a fantastic service to the local community, they deserve better than this, said Joan Burton TD.

She added that, because the hospital has no management board, unlike the Mater and Beaumont, it is under the direct control of the Northern Area Health Board, therefore no-one is able to speak out independently on behalf of the hospital, it’s patients and staff and the local community.