Danny Healy-Rae: wants facility opened

A NEW €8.5 million mental health unit in Killarney, completed in 2015, remains unopened and fears have been expressed that the delay could continue for a long time.

The Deer Lodge development, on St Margaret’s Road, is a 40-bed long-stay and rehabilitation facility built on a greenfield site to replace a unit in the now disused St Finan’s Hospital complex.

But concern has been voiced that it will not open in the foreseeable future due to a chronic staff shortage.

It is understood that up to 40 nurses would be required to staff the state-of-the-art unit but there has been a lack of progress in developing community-based facilities in Kerry in line with the 1006 report A Vision for Change.

Deputy Danny Healy-Rae has called on Health Minister, Simon Harris, to sanction the staffing measures required to enable the facility to open.

He said it could be achieved through the additional €500 million allocated to the health service in the Budget.

“I do not want this money to be consumed by the HSE,” he said.

Deputy Healy-Re asked for additional resources to be allocated to provide extra home help hours to assist elderly people who want to remain in their homes for as long as possible.

“I asked that money be allocated to open the closed ward in University Hospital Kerry to curb the trolley crises and that the closed wards in Kenmare and Dingle Community Hospitals be opened,” he added.

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