The HSE has announced that a former welfare home, which had pre-Covid provided respite care in the community, will reopen sooner than had been expected.
The former St Francis’s Welfare Home on Rathealy Road in Fermoy had provided respite care prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, during which it was adapted to provide transitional care for Covid-19 patients until it was closed in July 2021 due to staffing issues.
The HSE had previously announced its intention to resume respite services in the former welfare home once it could secure a medical officer, but local sources had believed such an appointment was potentially months away.
The HSE has now indicated tothat an appointment may now be imminent, with the intention that the centre would reopen early in the New Year.
“We are actively engaging with an individual with regard to the provision of medical officer cover for the centre and we are recruiting staff currently to allow for services to resume after the Christmas period,” a HSE spokesperson said.
A Fermoy-based County Councillor who had called on the HSE to expedite the reopening welcomed the news, saying the sooner respite services can resume at the centre, the better.
Fianna Fáil councillor William O’Leary said he wished to stress the necessity of respite facility re-opening, given the extreme shortage of respite beds in the area.
“We currently have no provision at this moment for respite and step-down care in the North East part of County Cork.
“Families often have to travel to all parts of the county if their loved ones are lucky enough to receive respite care,” he said.
Councillor O’Leary added that he welcomed the news that the HSE is actively recruiting staff for the respite centre, but reiterated that the process needs to be fast-tracked.