October 1, 2023

Kilkenny boy with intellectual disabililty left languishing in hospital bed at €150k cost to taxpayer


IT has cost the taxpayer €150,000 to keep a Kilkenny boy with intellectual disabilities in a hospital bed because funding has not been provided to move him to a permanent home.

The boy has been left languishing in a ward at St Luke’s General Hospital since last November because of an ongoing industrial dispute at St Patrick’s Centre.

Kilkenny TD John McGuinness said the boy’s health is now deteriorating as a result of the situation. Deputy McGuiness said the boy should have been moved to a home in the community.

St Patrick’s provides specialist services for adults and children with intellectual disabilities. It has been embroiled in a dispute since the board of St Patrick’s announced plans to step down later this year, leaving staff fearing for their jobs.

The Workplace Relations Commission has been asked to intervene in an attempt to resolve the issue.

Deputy McGuinness raised his serious concerns for the boy’s welfare in the Dáil yesterday.

Addressing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Deputy McGuinness said: “A young man has been left in St Luke’s Hospital since November of last year. The bed is costing €1,000 a day and everyone agrees it is an inappropriate setting.

“Senior officials in the HSE will not give sanction for the funding necessary to take that young man, whose health is deteriorating, out of the hospital and put him into the appropriate setting he deserves.”

Deputy McGuinness said funding would resolve the matter.

He added: “Many young adults are now being taken from institutionalised settings such as St Patrick’s in Kilkenny and placed in community homes throughout the city. I believe the policy is successful but it lacks funding.

“The consequences for staff members are that they remain within the setting but they are not being paid properly and are not being given redundancy. Their pensions are at issue and the HSE is not in a position to respond to them.”

In response, the Taoiseach said he was not aware of individual cases but acknowledged Deputy McGuinness had raised many important issues about pay, pensions, and redundancy.


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