The Health Service Executive said it is 'reviewing all options' regarding the location of a methadone prescribing clinic in Wexford town despite officials informing local residents that the plan is to transfer the service from Grogan's Road to a former office building in George's Street.
In a statement issued last Thursday, the HSE said the locations being considered are the HSE premises in George's Street and the new Primary Care Centre in Grogan's Road, on the site of the old county clinic where the service has been based since it opened eight years ago.
'No final decision has been made at this point. The final decision will primarily focus on the best interests of our service users and consideration to the concerns raised by members of the public,' it said.
Wexford County Council is currently considering an application by the HSE for planning permission to retain a change of use of the office building in George's Street from a bank to a health services building along with a new extension consisting of a lift shaft and external signage.
Cllr George Lawlor who has been assisting residents concerned about the proposal, said he joined them last Tuesday at a meeting in Wexford town with representatives of the HSE.
'It was confirmed for the first time that the methadone clinic was being placed in George's Street,' he said.
'But astonishingly, they also confirmed that even though addiction support and methadone services are obviously a primary care treatment, no provision had been made for this service to be housed in the new €8 million primary care centre in Grogan's Road', said Cllr Lawlor.
'Addiction is a primary care service and it beggars belief that a new primary care centre was designed and constructed without including facilites for addiction treatment', he said.
'The service successfully operated for eight years in the old community care building in Grogan's Road which they are now about to knock down'.
Cllr Lawlor said he and the residents had left the HSE representatives attending the meeting in no doubt that they were to go back to whoever was responsible for this omission and get them rectify it. 'Who is responsible for this incompetence?' Cllr Lawlor asked. 'I have also been told that there is no provision for a storeroom in the new building and that they have to seek other accommodation for a storeroom. This is ludicrous and someone should be held accountable.'
On learning that the HSE has not made a final decision on the location and is considering Grogan's Road as a possibility, the Labour councillor said: 'It is clear that the HSE is beginning to see the light of day and that the decision not to include the methadone service and other addiction treatments in the new primary care centre is completely wrong. I would welcome a reversal of the decision'.