Delays in opening of Ballyshannon Community Hospital result of INMO and HSE dispute

Delays in the opening of Ballyshannon Community Hospital is the result of an ongoing dispute between staff and the HSE.

That’s according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation who say inadequate provisions and planning around staffing and clinical governance poses a risk to staff and patients.

Talks held last Friday between the HSE and the INMO in the Workplace Relations Commission broke down as the parties were unable to reach an agreement.

The INMO has described the outcome as “deeply disappointing” and is insisting that staffing and clinical governance measures be put in place before the opening of the hospital can be supported.

INMO Industrial Relations Officer for the region, Neal Donohue says patient and worker safety must be paramount for any decision to open the hospital, and the failure to adequately plan for this he says won’t be accepted by the nurses going into the hospital.

He added that it is deeply disappointing that this much-needed facility remains unused while the HSE continues to drag its heels over these issues.

INMO members are now considering industrial action in pursuance of an agreement on safe staffing and clinical governance for the hospital.

HSE Response:

The new Ballyshannon Community Hospital is located centrally within the town of Ballyshannon. It will replace the old Sheil Community Hospital and The Rock Nursing Unit. The new Community Hospital will provide both Long Term Care and Short Term Care facilities to serve the catchment area of South Donegal North Leitrim and North Sligo.

It is planned that the existing residents in the Community Nursing Unit based at the Rock will transfer to this new facility, which will allow for care to be given in the most appropriate modern health care environment which will benefit their needs and promote a high quality of life. All residents and families are looking forward to the move.

The new Ballyshannon Community Hospital has been recently inspected by HIQA who have reviewed all Regulatory requirements in line with the Health Act and have confirmed that the Hospital meets all required Standards including staffing and skill mix The Hospital is now fully Registered with HIQA with the Registration certificate proudly displayed within the new Facility.

In preparation for the opening of the new Community Hospital, there has been constructive partnership working between the HSE and the Unions over many months, supported more recently by the conciliation services of the Workplace Relations Commission.

The HSE’s focus has always and will continue to remain on providing a safe high quality service at the new Hospital for residents and staff.

The HSE remains committed to resolving matters through ongoing dialogue and is looking ahead to the planned opening date of early February 2024. It is disappointing that the INMO are going ahead with a ballot for industrial action before the engagement and conciliation had been allowed to reach a conclusion.

The HSE are actively seeking to engage with our INMO colleagues to find a resolution to support the commencement of services in early February 2024