HSE ‘in no hurry’ to open €2m unit in Kerry hospital

The planned opening of a €2m, high-observation psychiatric unit — which has remained closed since last December, due to staff shortages — has again been postponed, a nurses’ union has claimed.

HSE ‘in no hurry’ to open €2m unit in Kerry hospital

The four-bed unit is in Kerry General Hospital (KGH), in Tralee, and Ger Reaney, chief officer at HSE South, has said the opening of the Brandon will be reviewed, once refurbishment works in other wards are completed.

Independent TD Tom Fleming, who had raised the matter in the Dáil, was told works were being carried out at the hospital’s Valentia and Reask wards. However, Cormac Williams, of the Psychiatric Nurses’ Association, said Mr Reaney’s letter had indicated “the HSE are in no hurry, or have no immediate plans, to open the high-observation unit at KGH”.

The unit is to manage in-patients with challenging and disturbed behaviour by providing a more secure, spacious and tranquil environment.

“Mr Reaney’s letter, pointing to a long-fingering of the opening of the high-observation unit, again highlights the lack of commitment by both the Government and HSE to implementing a modern, effective and efficient mental health service,’’ said Mr Williams.

Mr Reaney, however, said that a therapeutic activity suite was providing an expanded range of activities for all clients, thereby enhancing the recovery model of care by the multidisciplinary staff.

He also said a project group had been established in relation to refurbishment works at both the Reask and Valentia wards.

That will mean, Mr Reaney said, that service users requiring in-patient treatment in Kerry General Hospital acute mental-health department will have access to the highest environmental standards.

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