Concern over ‘lack of ownership’ surrounding withdrawal of nurse from Limerick special school

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

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Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

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fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

Concern over ‘lack of ownership’ surrounding withdrawal of nurse at Limerick special school

THE PARENTS association of St Vincent’s special school in Lisnagry have expressed deep concern over “a lack of ownership” for resolving the “critical issue” of losing a much-needed nurse.

On Wednesday night, the parents association of St Vincent’s Lisnagry Special School took to social media to announce that it is to lose its nurse, provided by Daughters of Charity, “due to lack of HSE funding”. 

A spokesperson for the HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare said that the withdrawal of St Vincent's nursing service “has no relevance to funding” and that this “is a matter for the Daughters of Charity with the school to resolve and not the HSE”.

St Vincent’s Special School is Ireland’s third largest school of its kind, with 117 pupils, five of whom have life-limiting conditions and require full-time nursing supports. However, as of this June, these children will no longer have this crucial support, following the transfer of a nurse to an adult facility. 

The announcement has caused considerable upset among parents of pupils and the wider community. 

In a statement, the Daughters of Charity said that it had a number of children living in residential services that attended St Vincent's school and required specialist nursing support. 

“We by way of an agreement with the school, provided nursing care support to those children and others with complex needs. Over time as these children in residential services have left school and transitioned to adult services, the nursing support understandably transferred with them to adult day services.

“As the last remaining pupil from our residential services will be leaving school in June 2020 that nurse must transfer to support the transition to adult services.”

In a statement on Facebook, the parents association said: “Affected parents received a letter in December advising them that from September no nurse would be in place to support the needs of our children.

“We are very encouraged by the support and pledges we have received from across all political groups and we now want this translated into action. This is also part of a much wider set of systemic issues that urgently need to be addressed; we have been waiting for a new school building to commence since 2015, as the current building is not fit for purpose in providing 117 of our most vulnerable children with an appropriate education.”