herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

HSE snaps up Mount Carmel for extra beds

Mount Carmel Hospital has been bought by the HSE and is likely to be used as step-down facility for patients from acute hospitals.

It is planned to use the building for patients who no longer need treatment in expensive acute hospital beds but still need accommodation prior to going home or into residential care.

In a deal agreed at the end of last month, the HSE paid €11m for the former private maternity hospital, which closed in January of this year with the loss of more than 300 jobs.

The building, housed on a 4.9-acre site in Churchtown in Dublin, had 118 in-patient beds, day care wards, laboratories and five state-of-the-art operating theatres.

It was put on the market by NAMA with a guide price of €12m.

The sale, at a discount, was forced when NAMA was unable to find another company to take it over.

Staff initially staged a sit-in to try to keep the hospital open.

Their hopes were dashed when the Health Minister at the time, James Reilly, ruled out the possibility of the health service taking over the loss-making facility.

If it had been taken over while it was still trading, the HSE would have had to assume responsibility for the hospital liabilities and staff.

Many former staff said as Mount Carmel closed that they would willingly "walk back" into their old jobs if a move to reopen the hospital was successful.

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Earlier this year the High Court was told the hospital had debts of more than €35m. It had been acquired by developer Jerry Conlon in 2006 with a €60m loan from Allied Irish Banks.

It is understood the HSE will have to invest in the hospital before it re-opens.

csheehy@herald.ie

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