Support units for new Central Mental Hospital not on capital works plan

Support units for new Central Mental Hospital not on capital works plan
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Three regional intensive care units planned to bolster the work of the new Central Mental Hospital are not even on the current capital works plan, the HSE has confirmed.

As reported in detail in this newspaper on Monday, the long-awaited new €170m Central Mental Hospital in Portrane, Co Dublin will be full within a couple of years, its director has warned. 

Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health in a parliamentary question for a progress update on phase 2 of the National Forensic Mental Health capital project which is to provide new regional intensive care rehabilitation units in the HSE west and HSE south areas given the opening of the new Central mental hospital is imminent.

Her question was forwarded to Dr Sinead Reynolds, general manager of Mental Health Services at the HSE who told her that: "The first of these four units is being completed as part of the new development and replacement of the Central Mental Hospital on the St Ita’s Hospital Site in Portrane."

However, Dr Reynolds then added: "The construction of the additional three ICRU’s is not part of the National Forensic Mental Health Service development current Capital programme of works."

Dr Reynolds also pointed out that ‘Sharing a Vision – A Health Policy for Everyone’ said there needs to be a review of all existing in-patient capacity in adult services and recommends that a committee is established to undertake that work. 

"In addition, this new policy document recommends that the operation of the new ICRU centre in Portrane should be reviewed in order to determine the need for and effectiveness of this type of model of care and the possible location of further ICRU’s in the future."

As the Irish Examiner reported on Monday, Professor Harry Kennedy, CMH executive clinical director and head of the National Forensic Mental Health Service has said Portrane will ease the waiting list for a limited time, but new patients found not guilty by reason of insanity in the courts will overtake the additional capacity within a few years.

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