Press Release

Minister for Health and Children approves the purchase of the site of the Meath Hospital

Mr Brian Cowen TD, Minister for Health and Children today (21 October 1999) gave approval to the Eastern Health Board to purchase the site of the former Meath Hospital.

The Health Board previously negotiated a lease on the Meath Hospital for the period June 1998 to August 1999 to allow them commission and open a 60 bed unit for older people. This service development was essential to ensure that the local general hospitals had additional supports following the opening of Tallaght Hospital.

In making the announcement, the Minister stated that “this is a logical move which will allow the Eastern Health Board to develop a much needed range of important services on a permanent basis. I am pleased that the health board secured such a good location to service the South-Inner city. In particular, this initiative will focus on the provision of critical services to the local elderly population, and in supporting the nearby general hospitals.”

The proposals of the Board for the Meath campus include:

1. A 50 bed unit for older people

The range of in-patient services in this unit will include:-

  • sub-acute/ convalescent care for patients who have completed the acute phase of their medical care.
  • respite/intermittent care for patients being cared for at home but who require short-term planned admission for non-acute care/assessment and/or to give ‘home-carers’ a respite.
  • long stay care for patients who have been medically assessed as no longer capable of being cared for in their own home environment.

2. A 25 bed facility for secondary rehabilitation

This Unit is for older persons who, having completed the acute phase of their medical treatment, require continuing intensive rehabilitation over a planned period of time prior to being discharged back into their own home environment with appropriate community support.

The 60 long stay places currently in situation at the Meath Hospital will be redesigned and together with the additional 15 places will enable the range of in-patient services as described above to be provided.

3. Day Care Unit

The EHB are setting up a register for people who would benefit from a regular attendance at a day care unit. It is expected that up to 20 patients a day would attend such a unit. The range of facilities available will be needs based, to include the expected provision of physiotherapy services.

4. GPs Treatment Centre

The EHB proposal is to provide support services for the South Inner City Primary Care Unit (29 participating GPs) and will include a minor injuries unit and wound dressing clinic. The service will also be provided out of hours.

5. Consultant Led Out Patient Clinic

It is expected that these clinics will be managed by consultants based in St James’s Hospital. The range of specialities and frequency of the clinics are to be finalised.

6. Multipurpose Health Centre

Various community services will be provided for that part of the South Inner City from this facility including – Public Health Nursing, Community Welfare, Dental, Home Helps, Social Work, Paramedical services etc.

7. Psychiatric Day Hospital and Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic

Both of these services will be consultant-led and will operate Monday to Friday during normal working hours.

The Minister concluded “my Department will work with the Eastern Health Board to examine in greater detail the optimum use of the site so that appropriate health services are delivered in the most effective manner.”