Tuesday 17 September 2019

HSE 'reconfiguring' Wexford services

THE HSE'S reconfiguration plan for acute adult mental health services in Wexford and Waterford proposes the building of day hospitals in Gorey, Wexford town, Waterford city and Dungarvan in order to treat service users close to their homes with the emphasis on 'person-centred care'.

In-patient services are being reorganised at Waterford Regional Hospital, where there are currently 44 acute beds in the psychiatric unit. Its catchment area is now being extended to include Wexford and a specific number of beds will be allocated to Waterford east and west and Wexford north and south.

An investment of €1.5 million has been approved to improve facilities in Waterford's acute psychiatric unit.

During a transition phase, an inpatient service for north Wexford patients will be provided at Newcastle Hospital in Co. Wicklow, with five beds being allocated.

A Respite House is to be built in Enniscorthy to provide up to 72 hours of care to people who are already known to the mental health services.

A capital investment programme of €18.8 million will support the closure of St Senan's Hospital with a crisis house (€3.2 million), three high-support residences (€4.6 million), a community nursing unit (€8 million) along with community facilities in Gorey (€80,000), Wexford town (€300,000), Waterford city (two units at €600,000 each) and Dungarvan (€200,000).

The plan provides for additional investment in Wexford and Waterford through two extra consultant's posts and a number of replacement nursing posts.

Extending the catchment area to combine Waterford and Wexford is in line with recommendation contained in the Government's national policy document 'Vision for Change'.

Following a mandatory inspection of St Senan's Hospital in 2009, the Mental Health Commission issued a number of conditions to the HSE regarding the continued operation of acute admission wards in the hospital.

In June 2010, the MHC, which is responsible for ensuring high standards in mental health services, wrote to the then HSE CEO Professor Drumm, directing that the wards cease operating by the end of February this year.

In recent years, there has been a move toward more communitybased mental health services, and this is now being accelerated.

According to the HSE reconfiguration report, Wexford and Waterford have a combined population of 255,593. Between 2002 and 2006, Wexford saw the largest population increase (13 per cent) while Waterford had a growth of 6.3 per cent.

The south east region is the second most disadvantaged region of Ireland and Waterford City is the most disadvantaged local authority area within the region, according to the report.

It describes 'psychiatric morbidity' as being a significant issue in the HSE south east, with rates of admission for depressive disorders and psychosis being higher than other HSE areas.

'In this context, there is a clear need to develop further our community-based services and to seek to reduce the level of admission to acute care more in line with norms.

'Significant staffing resources are engaged in the provision of acute inpatient care and there is a need to shift resources into the community to offer other services and treatment options,' it states.

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