Monday 16 December 2019

Cautious optimism as work set to begin on new CAMHS building

Arden House in Whitemill Industrial Estate
Arden House in Whitemill Industrial Estate

Pádraig Byrne

Just a few days after another major protest in Wexford town about the deplorable state of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in the county, confirmation has been received that work is to get under way to fit out a new building that will house these services.

Nearly one year ago, Child Psychiatric Consultant Dr Kieran Moore resigned from his post in Wexford citing shocking conditions at Slaney House on the Newtown Road as being a major factor. Speaking just last week on Slaney House, he said: 'There was no facility to take bloods or properly examine patients. There were slugs crawling around on the floor. We didn't even have blinds on the windows.'

Since September of 2017, a move to Arden House has been mooted, but several delays followed. Last week, Fianna Fáil mental health spokesman James Browne received confirmation that work is to get under way on the new CAMHS centre this week.

'I welcome the news that the HSE will commence alteration works at Arden House next week. This has been a long road, marked by several delays,' Deputy Browne said. 'It's disappointing that we are still some months away from Arden House's opening. Nevertheless, it's good to see that this project is now going ahead. I want to say well done to the Wexford Mental Health Warriors and Dr Kieran Moore who fought tooth and nail for this. They deserve huge credit for never giving up.'

Raymond Shannon of Wexford Mental Health Warriors, those behind the CAMHS protests in town, also cautiously welcomed the news.

'Obviously I'd welcome the news, but we feel that we can't trust the HSE,' he said. 'This is not the first time this has been promised. We've had promises about this since October of 2017.'

The big benefit of getting Arden House up and running is that, with proper facilities, Wexford will be more likely to attract in demand workers in the sector and possibly a replacement for Dr Moore. 'It's all about attracting staff,' Raymond said. 'That's the whole reason that Kieran Moore left is because of the facilities. Nobody wants to work in an unsuitable environment. Hopefully this is the start of something, but we'll keep up the fight until we get the staff we need across all services.'

Wexford People

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