The long-running Covid clinic at Dublin’s Mater Hospital will not be given a reprieve and will close at the end of the month.
The HSE yesterday said it would not provide the financial support required by the hospital to maintain the clinic, which has treated 1,500 patients since the pandemic began. It said its patients are being referred elsewhere.
An HSE spokesman said it will ensure continuity of care for patients by referring them to national long-term Covid treatment facilities in designated hospitals.
“The HSE recognizes the need to follow up and care for patients with ongoing signs and symptoms of Covid-19 and has developed an interim treatment model for long-term Covid-19 which was completed in September 2021,” the spokesperson said.
“The aim is to provide a national approach to the delivery of services and support for patients with persistent symptoms of Covid-19. It establishes a framework for the delivery of these services and supports the areas of general medicine, community services and acute hospitals.
“The preliminary care model recommended the development of six long-term Covid clinics, eight post-acute Covid clinics and one tertiary neurocognitive referral clinic for patients with complex neurocognitive or neuropsychological symptoms. Mater Hospital was not selected as one of the proposed sites for funding.”
The Mater Clinic looks after about 15 patients per week.
Prof Jack Lambert, an infectious disease consultant at Mater Hospital who has run the clinic, yesterday expressed his disappointment at the decision.
“We are aware that Mater was not ‘chosen’ for a long-term Covid clinic as part of the ‘interim plan’ issued in September 2021,” he said. “But who made the choice?
“Why not fund the site that has produced the most scientific data on long term Covid-19 patients and Ireland and has provided clinical care to most of these patients from all funded sites in the country?
“And the HSE has indicated it will add new sites as the science changes and as needed. That’s why my CEO encouraged me to present a new business plan in July 2022.
“We want to know why it is taking so long to review this business case, who is reviewing the business case and what is the timeframe for us to get an answer.
“This lack of HSE responsiveness is extremely problematic and borders on irresponsible.
“And it clearly does not meet the needs of patients with long-term Covid-19 illness in the North Dublin region, which is an area of social deprivation.
“It does not meet the needs of many of the long-Covid-19 occupationally acquired patients that Mater serves and those who are infected in ‘duty’ while caring for Irish people.
“The HSE has given them little support and is now refusing funding for one of the few long haul Covid-19 clinics in Ireland that are supporting these healthcare workers.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/dublins-mater-hospital-loses-fight-to-keep-long-covid-clinic-42192319.html Dublin’s Mater Hospital is losing battle to keep long-term Covid clinic