Abandonment of Drumclay Nursing Home to ease bed-blocking ‘unfortunate’

Two independent members of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council have branded the Western Health and Social Care Trust abandonment of Drumclay Nursing Home as a step-down facility to ease bed-blocking as “unfortunate”.

oth members spoke out during the recent full council meeting in response to a reply from Western Trust Chief Executive Neil Guckian around the potential use of Drumclay Nursing Home to free up beds at South West Acute Hospital (SWAH) where this is of significant concern

Mr. Guckian advised the facility is in private ownership and the Western Trust no longer has an agreement for provisions of service. However, he assured there is daily engagement with all local independent providers to secure long-term provision for the Omagh and Fermanagh population.

He added: “During the pandemic there have been significant pressures on the entire health care sector, in particular with independent nursing and residential home. The Trust is presently finalizing plans as to how we will work with these providers to secure additional capacity to assist with the placement of our clients in long term care.”

Although welcoming the response, Councilor Donal O’Cofaigh felt it raised more questions than it answered.

He said, “The Drumclay initiative was meant to be and was as I understand quite an effective intervention to deal with bed-blocking, and while I don’t like that term, we understand what it refers to. Unfortunately, that has now been removed, and we’ve seen the transition to care in the home, which seems to be the replacement or the patch that is going to be applied to the whole sector as a result of inadequate care provision. It fails me as to why the Western Trust thought Drumclay was a good idea, then abandoned it.”

Supporting this view, Councilor Josephine Deehan, Independent remarked: “It’s unfortunate that resource could not be utilized and arrangements made between the Trust and the independent sector as a step-down or intermediate care facility for patients being discharged from the SWAH. The so-called bed-blocking is a major issue in that patients who are medically fit for discharge but the social support they require is not in place. That is of great concern.”

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