Deputy Carol Nolan
THE HSE’s Chief Officer for the Midlands Louth Meath Community Health Organisation, Des O’Flynn has confirmed to the Independent TD for Laois Offaly Carol Nolan that a refurbishment of the current day service facility in Wilmer Road, Birr is not feasible in the context of a planned move into the new Primary Care Centre which is planned for Birr in approximately two years’ time.
Deputy Nolan received the information after she had repeatedly engaged with the HSE on the re-opening of the Birr Mental Health Unit, which was situated at the Wilmer Road site, but which has been closed for some time.
Speaking on the latest developments, Deputy Nolan said that it was difficult to avoid the impression that the people of Birr and the service users who rely on the Mental Health Unit have been “strung along” by the HSE in terms of the possibility of the Unit re-opening.
“In January the Mental Health Services confirmed to me that it was proactively working with the HSE’s maintenance and estates teams to identify all of the building works that were required to be completed in order to re-open the Mental Health Unit in Birr. This followed a meeting that took place between Nursing management and Estates and Maintenance on the 17th of November 2021 to review what needed to be done at a minimum to re-open Wilmer Road,” Deputy Nolan said.
“I am now informed that the re-opening of the Unit will not in fact be taking place and that instead accommodation for the Unit is to be transferred to the Banagher Primary Care Centre, which will allow the Mental Health Service to deliver Day Services to patients in the South Offaly Catchment Area.”
“As I understand it from the HSE, that service is still only in the process of ‘logistical planning’ with the expectation that Day Services will be offered from early April 2022.”
“At this stage however I am not sure how credible any of the HSE’s commitments are in this regard. We urgently need a restoration of mental health services. What we do not need is for the Unit to be knocked around from one temporary home to another while the demand for its services seem likely to grow in the coming years,” concluded Deputy Nolan.
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