The Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) which operates from a building previously described as being 'in a state' by a paediatric psychiatrist in County Wexford are expected to be relocated to a new premises by the end of the year.
The Wexford South Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services team currently operates from Slaney House on the Newtown Road but is soon to move to a newly-renovated building in Whitemill.
Dr Kieran Moore, a specialist consultant paediatric psychiatrist, formerly based at Slaney House told an Oireachtas committee in June that he was resigning as he believed his position was 'untenable and unsafe'.
Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly told Wexford TD Paul Kehoe in a letter dated August 31st, 2018, that the team would be relocating from Slaney House 'to a newly refurbished location at Arden House, Wexford, when renovation works and alterations have been completed'.
'This work should be completed by the end of the year. No decision has been taken regarding the future use of Slaney House after the CAMHS service vacates the premises.'
This followed an earlier letter from the HSE to Deputy John Deasy TD in response to a parliamentary question to the Minister for Health, asking about contingency plans in the event of consultant psychiatric posts in the south east not being taken up within a reasonable time frame, in view of the difficulty in filling such posts nationally.
In that letter, a HSE manager said every possible option was being pursued in order to recruit Child and Adolescent Consultant Psychiatrists to the area. Advertistements were placed in journals nationally and internationally to fill the posts on temporary basis, pending permanent recruitments through the Public Appointment Service.
It was stated that measures were put in place to ensure continuity, including the establishment of weekend consultant psychiatry clinics in Waterford and Wexford with a locum arrangement whereby an external consultant from Galway was to hold clinics on Saturday and Sunday in Waterford and a consultant psychiatrist would provide a total of eight days per month cross cover to teams in Waterford and Wexford.
It was promised that the South East Community Healthcare Mental Health Service Management Team would engage with the private sector to explore options, including the provision of an 'out of hours' service access to inpatient assessment beds and the provision of an outreach service to Waterford/Wexford.
At the time, the HSE said Wexford South CAHMS would be reclocating from their current base at Slaney House to the new location of Arden House 'in the near future'.
Newly-refurbished Arden House at Whitemill is still being advertised for lease through REA McCormack Corish for a rent of €100,000 a year.
When asked about the re-location plan this week, a HSE spokesman said the executive's South East Community Healthcare service is 'working with all stakeholders to progress the project'.
The Community Healthcare service said it wanted to reassure the public that 'it is there to care and provide support, has dedicated teams of professionals in place and that the welfare of service users and their families is paramount'.
In a statement,the executive said it is committed to maintaining Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in counties Waterford and Wexford and is working to address the filling of any vacancies in these services.
'The HSE is currently operating a national and international recruitment campaign for Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists. This resource will be drawn on to fill positions on a permanent basis in the Waterford and Wexford areas'.
'In order to maintain continuity of service within CAMHS, the HSE South East Community Healthcare Mental Health Service is operating weekend CAMHS clinics in both Waterford and Wexford which are facilitated by CAMHS Consultants from neighbouring Community Healthcare Services', the statement continued.