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Ó Caoláin raises concern over closure of St. Ita’s, Portrane

20 July, 2011 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD will this morning in the Dáil raise serious concern over the closure of both the male and female acute units at St. Ita’s Hospital, Portrane, from 31 August and the implications for mental healthcare.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“In reply to my Dáil Question, Minister of State for Health, Kathleen Lynch, has confirmed that the male and female acute units at St. Ita’s, Portrane are to close from 31 August. This is required by the Mental Health Commission due to the condition of the building and the hospital cannot be registered until refurbishment works are completed.

“The condition of St. Ita’s has for long been of concern but successive Governments have failed to put in place alternatives. Now we are told by the Minister and the HSE that the St. Ita’s units will close from 31 August and there is only a vague assurance that unspecified acute mental health services will be provided for the heavily populated North Dublin area served by the hospital.

“The psychiatric unit at Beaumont Hospital - promised since 1987 - was delayed because of former Health Minister Mary Harney’s now ditched ‘co-location’ plan. Minister of State Lynch tells us that the contract for the construction of the psychiatric unit at Beaumont has been awarded and it is hoped construction will begin in the last quarter of 2011. But what happens to people who need to be admitted for acute psychiatric care between 31 August 2011 and the completion of the Beaumont Unit? The concerns and questions raised further highlight the lack of proper planning and provision for mental healthcare by successive Governments in this State.”

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