Dáil Éireann - Volume 448 - 26 January, 1995
Written Answers. - Transfer of Patients.
Mr. Harte Mr. Harte
26. Mr. Harte asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to a statement in the public press (details supplied) regarding the transfer of patients from St. Conal's Hospital, Letterkenny, County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter in view of public concern and so as to establish the facts of the matter. [1310/95]
Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East) Michael Noonan
Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East): I am aware of the comments made by a member of the Oireachtas concerning the transfer of certain patients from St. Conal's Hospital, Letterkenny, County Donegal.
The North Western Health Board, which is responsible for the delivery of health services in Donegal, has informed me that the patients in question — just over 20 in number — are long-stay elderly patients who are no longer under the care of a psychiatrist. Most of them are from mid and north-west Donegal.
It is a cornerstone of health policy for dependent elderly, as set out in “The Years Ahead” report, that they should be supported at home and, where this is not possible, to provide their care in a residential home as close as possible to the person's home and family. The  North Western Health Board has consistently worked towards achieving this objective. The transfer of patients from St. Conal's to residential care in their communities is consistent with this objective. Before any transfers took place, there were discussions with the families of the residents and where concerns were expressed these were fully taken into account. All arrangements were in place since the end of October 1994 and no patient was moved either against his/her own wishes or those of his/her family. The transfers have meant that patients are now residing closer to their families. A small number of transfers were made on a trial basis and, where this proved unsatisfactory, the patients were returned to receive continuing care in St. Conal's.
The transfer of these elderly patients from St. Conal's coincides with a major £1 million development at the hospital which will result in additional health facilities and refurbished accommodation for the remaining patients in St. Conal's.
Dáil Éireann 448 Written Answers. Transfer of Patients.