Friday 6 December 2019

Nurses dispute need to close mental health facility

Caroline Crawford

RESIDENTS of a mental health facility have been told it will close, despite the HSE agreeing to hold talks with the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) on the matter.

The move to shut the 18-bed mental health residential unit in Tuam, Co Galway follows an independent fire and safety study in September, delivered to the HSE last month.

Declan Breen of the PNA said his members did not believe that the 18-bed Toghermore House facility had to close despite the report stating the building did not comply with fire safety regulations.

The move to shut the facility follows an independent fire and safety report which was undertaken in September and delivered to the HSE last month. It found the current facility does not meet the minimum fire and safety standards and highlighted shortfalls in relation to fire safety that need to be addressed with immediate effect.

But Mr Breen said the report highlighted "relatively minor remedial works" which needed to be carried out internally in the building.

"Residents were told a week before Christmas they were to be moved 45 to 50 miles away from their families and friends. They were distraught," said Mr Breen.

"And then when you look at the actual report it just suggests some remedial action over three months and some slightly more significant building work over three years.

"This is not about the building, it's a cost-saving measure."

Irish Independent

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