Ward opening delay reaches crisis point

University Hospital Kerry

THE psychiatric ward in University Hospital Kerry remains closed and it is now feared that it might not actually re-open until next June.

Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae has branded the delay “a disgrace”

Responding to queries from the Kerry politician, Health Minister, Simon Harris, said the physical condition of the psychiatric unit had been raised in a number of yearly inspections by the Mental Health Commission. This led to a programme of extensive refurbishments, initially in the Valentia Ward in 2016 and later in the Reask Ward from mid 2018.

The works, to facilitate a complete upgrade of the entire unit, IN both clinical and non-clinical areas, were scheduled to be completed in April.

Michael Healy-Rae: Delay is a disgrace

During the refurbishment of the Reask Ward it was necessary to reduce bed capacity to temporarily redesign the unit to allow the transfer of bed space to the high-observation Brandon Suite which had not opened for that purpose at the time.

In order to reopen the unit, however, additional staff needed to be recruited and the recruitment attempts, which commenced last July, are still progressing.

“Unfortunately, due to delays in the recruitment process, it is expected that the completion of the staff required to open the Brandon Suite as a close observation unit may not be in place until June 2019,” the minister’s department confirmed.

Deputy Healy-Rae has stated that the delay is not acceptable as the services are required right now.

“It is at crisis point,” he remarked.

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