Anger over withdrawal of mental health services

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North Leitrim county councillor, Padraig Fallon, is calling on the HSE to reverse plans to withdraw Mental Health Services from the Day Centre facilities at the Leitrim Lakes Hostel, Kiltyclogher.

North Leitrim county councillor, Padraig Fallon, is calling on the HSE to reverse plans to withdraw Mental Health Services from the Day Centre facilities at the Leitrim Lakes Hostel, Kiltyclogher.

Cllr Fallon said that he had been made aware that the HSE was planning to move services from the hostel to Manorhamilton with the withdrawal of the current service in Kiltyclogher effective from this Thursday.

“The withdrawal of these services will relate directly to the sustainability of this hostel and indeed the community. Is the community not entitled to this service,” he asked.

The Sinn Féin councillor said that he had met with HSE representatives on this issue and had expressed his disappointment at the decision to remove services from Kiltyclogher.

“I visited the centre in Kiltyclogher on August 13th and met with some of those availing of the service as well as locals. I believe it is an excellent venue, providing a much needed service locally. The withdrawal of these services will directly impact the local community,” he told the Leitrim Observer this week.

“I believe the community is entitled to this service and that when making decisions such as this one that the HSE and indeed others should take into consideration the impacts on communities. These decisions should be rural proofed, consideration should be given to the consequences of such decisions on the local economy.”

Cllr Fallon said that he and other local representatives had received assurances following a meeting on this in April that the immediate threat to the service provision in Kiltyclogher had receded.

“I and others at that time expressed the concern that the issue was being put back until after the Local and European elections,” he noted, pointing out that this was now clearly the case.

Responding to queries by Cllr Fallon on the service withdrawal, Damien McCallion, HSE Area Manager, Sligo/Leitrim/West Cavan noted there are presently between 8 and 10 people from the Kiltyclogher area using the Day Centre facilities at Leitrim Lakes Hostel, Kiltyclogher.

“A further 10-12 people are transported to Kiltyclogher from the Manorhamilton area each week. Sligo/Leitrim Mental Health Services bear the costs of this transport,” added Mr McCallion.

The HSE Area Manager also pointed out that the kitchen in the Leitrim Lakes Hostel is not HACCP approved.

“It is proposed that service users who live in the Kiltyclogher area will now have access to a social day care facility which will be operating five days a week in the Beepark Centre in Manorhamilton. This will be supported on site five days a week by services including a Public Health Nurse, Healthcare Assistant and Multi Task Assistant,” said Mr McCallion.

“A transport route is being planned for this area to facilitate these people up to three days a week into Manorhamilton.

“This is an increase in two days a week from their current service provision of one day a week. This represents good value for money and an improved service for our clients; which is the most important development,” maintained the HSE Manager.

However Cllr Fallon said that while he welcomed the increase in service provision to three days a week, he still believed that the service should remain operational in Kiltyclogher, running alongside the two extra days provided for in Manorhamilton each week.

He said that surely the cost of transport for those using the service would still have to be borne by the HSE resulting in little or no saving for the Health Service Executive.

The North Leitrim Sinn Féin councillor has now renewed his appeal to the HSE to revisit the decision and reverse the withdrawal of services in Kiltyclogher.

“Is this community not entitled to this service?” he asked.