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29 Sept 2022

Massive funding boost for new Midlands Hospice to be based in Tullamore

Tullamore Hospital

Massive funding boost for new Midlands Hospice to be based in Tullamore

MASSIVE grant funding of €20 million will see a new 20-bed Midlands hospice built on a site at the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore.

The funding was announced by the Taoiseach Michéal Martin on a visit to Offaly on Tuesday.

He said the news fulfils a Programme for Government commitment to have a hospice serving every region in the country.

Once complete, the hospice will provide essential access to specialist palliative care inpatient services for patients and their families across the Midlands.

The news follows an intensive fund-raising campaign by Offaly Hospice and the other hospice groups in the four Midland counties.

Tullamore Lions Club and its sister clubs in the region have also raised considerable funds for the development through the ongoing Hospices4Hospice project.

The grant funding has been welcomed by local TDs and by the HSE.

Announcing the funding, the Taoiseach said: “Our Programme for Government commits to developing a hospice providing essential access to specialist palliative inpatient care for people with life limiting illnesses, and their families.

“I’m aware of the enormous work and commitment that has been provided by voluntary hospice groups and colleagues in the HSE to progress this much needed service over the past 15 years, and the funding contributed to date.

The Midlands Hospice development, expected to be completed by the end of 2025, will make Tullamore a hub for the provision of specialist palliative care services across the Midlands, including day care, outpatient, inpatient and community services.

The new development will be co-located on a site provided by the HSE at the Midland Regional Hospital.

In a wide-ranging statement Deputy Barry Cowen said he was truly delighted that Government has agreed to commit funding of €20m ensuring HSE plans to provide the Midlands region with a 20-bed hospice facility in the grounds of Regional Hospital Tullamore become a reality.

He continued: "My brother and former Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, played an instrumental role in the provision of the Regional Hospital in Tullamore and it is my wish that I can be as instrumental in ensuring this facility becomes a reality. The delivery of a hospice on the grounds of the Regional Hospital has been a key priority of mine for many years and it is something that Fianna Fáil has been spearheading since we re-entered Government in 2020.

“Since Fianna Fail entered Government, I’ve worked with Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, HSE and hospice groups in the region to progress this project. It is important to acknowledge the critical and supportive role that various groups /organisations have played in the support of Palliative Care services in the Midlands throughout the years. The reality is that without them, people and families in need would not have got the support and care they needed they have funded buildings, staff and services. They have worked to develop, support and supplement the work of HSE services.

“In the Midlands, we are lucky to have five Hospice Groups namely (and in alphabetical order): Laois Hospice, Longford Hospice, North Westmeath Hospice, Offaly Hospice and South Westmeath Hospice. We must formally thank these groups and all their volunteers who have fundraised for various palliative care initiatives through-out many years. All of these Hospice Groups continue to be committed to the development and expansion of palliative care services and supports. Many of them have financially committed to the new Palliative Care Unit and have inputted into the development plans for Palliative Care services for the Midlands. In addition, to the above groups, the launch of Hooves-4-Hospice, an all-Midlands Group established by the Lions Club in the area fundraised specifically for the Midlands Hospice has been innovative, with tentacles of support all over Ireland.

“Finally, the Irish Hospice Foundation has actively advocated for services and supported the funding of key research and reports that have been pivotal in keeping the need for a Palliative Care Unit in the Midlands at the front of demands.

“Politics has its ups and downs. It has its good days and bad days. Today is a good day. My party was synonymous with the provision of the Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore. It is again now synonymous with ensuring the Government’s intervention with this capital funding which will provide this facility and service. I am proud of the role I played with colleagues in influencing this decision, Mr Cowen said.

Minister Pippa Hackett said “this project is the fruit of many years planning, fundraising and advocating by people from many walks of life, both voluntary and as part of their work roles. Hospice care is something that any of us may require and we can all relate to the need for it in our own region. It is with delight that I welcome today’s announcement of €20 million in capital funding for a palliative care unit in Tullamore. This Government committed to this important facility and this Government will deliver on that commitment.”

Des O’Flynn, Chief Officer of the HSE Midlands Louth Meath, said the “decision is warmly welcomed and represents one of the most significant investments in health care in the Midlands for many years.  It’s the culmination of many years of work and advocacy by many local organisations and groups and staff within the HSE.”

“We’d like to thank the Department of Health and the Government for making this announcement.

We’d also like to thank the Hospice Groups in the Midlands namely Laois Hospice, Longford Hospice, North Westmeath Hospice, Offaly Hospice and South Westmeath Hospice and all their volunteers who have fundraised for various palliative care initiatives through-out many years including the new hospice. In addition, to the above groups, we would like to thank Hooves-4-Hospice, an all-Midlands Group established by the Lions Club in the area who have fundraised specifically for the Midlands Hospice and the Irish Hospice Foundation who have advocated and supported the project since inception.”

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