Local Politicians have expressed their disappointment at the temporary closure of St Josephs Mental Health Day Centre in Ballaghaderreen due to staffing issues.
Service users at St Josephs Mental Health Day Centre will be facilitated at other nearby facilities during the closure. The Centre was previously closed in September 2013 for similar reasons.
Commenting on the news Senator Maura Hopkins said
that the Chief Health Officer, Community Health Organisation 2 Mr. Tony Canavan informed her that it is planned that the centre will re-open on April 18th.
Senator Hopkins went on to say “He also advised me that “informed by each service users clinical need, arrangements are in place to facilitate service users with access to alternative services in the Castlerea Training Centre, Castlerea Day Centre and also the Osnaman Day Centre in Ballaghaderreen. Transport to services in Castlerea will be arranged for service users who need it. Nurse management are on site to complete this exercise for service users who attend on a Friday.”
Maura Hopkins also stated that “I have concerns regarding this temporary closure which I have raised at length with Tony Canavan and Minister for Mental Health, Helen McEntee. I am very disappointed that due to staffing issues this service had to close temporarily and has meant service users have to access services in other locations. This should not be the case. There should be proper procedures in place to deal with situations like this to avoid the need to close the service. It is very important that we are able to deliver the best possible mental health service on a continuous basis for service users.”
Senator Hopkins concluded by saying “it is essential that the external report into mental health services within the county be made available as quickly as possible. On February 21st last, I was informed by Minister McEntee that this report was to be completed by early March. It is completely unacceptable that the report has not been made available as of yet. I do expect this report to identify areas within the mental health service which require change and improvement for the benefit of those who use the service.”
Michael Fitzmaurice TD criticised the wider HSE and Health bodies when commenting on the issue saying that “Local Government and Fianna Fail politicians are being ignored by the HSE”.
“People may remember some months ago that the HSE denied that they were to close any Day Care Centres in County Roscommon yet people who attended St. Joseph’s Mental Health Day Centre last Friday found that the unit there was closed. The reason they were given was staff shortages. We understand that that those staff shortages have been sorted out but the Centre in Ballaghaderreen has not re-opened” he says.
“We also know that the Syrian refugees have now arrived in the town from a very troubled situation and they may need this service, never mind the locals who are using the Centre on an ongoing basis. Once again the HSE have totally ignored and have gone back on what they said on this matter only a few months ago and they are ignoring local public representatives as well” he said.
“It is now apparent that Ministers Simon Harris and Helen McEntee haven’t a clue what’s going on. I attempted to raise this important matter in Topical Issues in the Dáil today but it was not chosen and I will attempt to raise it again tomorrow. As far as I can see the HSE are out of control and a law unto themselves and we have local Government representatives, a Government Minister and a party who are supporting the Government and they are all seemingly powerless and unaware of what’s going on in this situation” he concluded.