THE long-promised new community nursing unit in Killarney, which has been in the pipeline for the past five years, is one of seven projects nationwide to be delivered by the government through public private partnerships, the Health Service Executive has explained.
Responding to a written query from Deputy Michael Healy-Rae, who asked about the projected costs and timeline for the project, HSE Director of Capital and Estates, Jim Curran, did not provide a specific response but he said the funding would be provided by the public private partnership consortium and will be repaid by the HSE by way of unitary payments during a 25-year concession period.
The funding for these payments will be included in the HSE’s capital plan.
Construction work on the new 130-bed nursing unit for older persons is expected to commence in July of next year and it is due to be completed within two years. It will replace the existing community hospital facilities for older persons in the town.
Deputy Danny Healy-Rae also welcomed confirmation of the project and he said it is particularly pleasing that the facility will provide both short stay and long term care beds.
“The tender documents will be completed very shortly. I am delighted with this good news as I have been highlighting the need for this for many years,” he said.
Just last month Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Marie Moloney, was told by the HSE that no decision has been made on what will become of the existing Killarney Community Hospital when the community nursing unit is finally built on the grounds of the St Finan’s Hospital.
The health service said the future use of the existing facilities will only be considered once the contract for the new development is formally approved.
“If no further healthcare use is identified, HSE will engage with other public bodies to identify if the property is of interest to them,” a spokesperson said.
Planning permission was approved last year for the new community nursing unit and residential care facility, plans for which were first revealed by KillarneyToday.com in 2016.
The 10,045sq m facility will have 130 ensuite bedrooms which will include 30 rooms for residents with dementia.
The centre will also be equipped with state-of-the-art dining rooms, kitchenettes, day rooms, a treatment room, hairdressing salon, laundry, an overnight room for families and a visitors’ room. Provision was also made for internal courtyards and first floor terraces, kitchens, staff accommodation, office space and parking for 195 vehicles.
The planned development – which will replace the existing community hospital – will have a new access road from Upper Lewis Road to include revised access to the existing HSE facility on site and a revised internal roadway.
The site was previously used by Killarney Celtic FC for their home games, in agreement with the HSE, and it runs alongside a section of the Killarney bypass road.