St. Senan's Hospital moved one step closer to being a patient-free zone last week as two new units opened at the St. John's Community Hospital campus on the other side of Enniscorthy. Twelve patients with mental health problems transferred from St. Enda's ward to the recently completed Mall View. Meanwhile, 14 patients with intellectual disabilities made the short trip across the Slaney from St. Christopher's Ward to Haven View.
The new facilities mark a shift away from the institutional style of the old hospital, which dates back a century and a half, to modern accommodation which allows all users of the service their own room. Some of those benefiting had been living in the big redbrick building at Brownswood for three decades.
The latest moves means that the only people still residing in St. Senan's are the elderly residents of St. Elizabeth's ward and they too are counting down the days to departure. They will soon be called to the new Farnogue unit beside Wexford General, which will be occupied as soon as a mental health commission licence has been issued.
Nursing manager Kevin Plunkett described the accommodation at St. John's as fantastic and he was delighted by the move. He confirmed that soon the old St. Senan's psychiatric hospital will offer no clinical services. However, parts of the huge building which looms over the N11 Enniscorthy to Wexford road will continue to provide office space to some HSE staff, including himself.
'St. Senan's has been a very important part of the history of Wexford,' he mused, while the health authorities are faced with the challenge of devising a worthwhile future for the vast old complex that was once home to more than 600 people.