Two- year wait for new Beaumont psychiatri​c unit

This shocking but not surprising.

Admissions will close at St Ita’s Hospital on August 31st.

By Robin KIELY

Wednesday August 03 2011

NORTH Dublin psychiatric patients will have to wait at least two years
before a new acute admissions unit at Beaumont Hospital is completed,
the Fingal Independent can reveal.

The male and female acute units at the St Ita’s Hospital, which took
in 800 patients last year, will shut on August 31st under the
direction of the Mental Health Commission.

Those seeking treatment will instead be forced to travel to Fairview,
the city centre or Blanchardstown, where only 100 beds will be
available, while work on a replacement unit at Beaumont will not
commence until the end of the year, which will not be opened until at
least mid2013, it’s emerged.

A contract has been awarded, subject to planning approval and the
12month construction period is expected to begin in the last quarter
of 2011, with a further period of four to six months required for
furnishing and fit-out.

The news comes as the HSE stressed access to appropriate mental health
services would continue to be provided in north Dublin even after the
closure of admissions at St Ita’s next month. Raising the issue in the
Dáil last week, Labour’s Dublin North-East TD, Tommy Broughan,
acknowledged the facilities at St Ita’s were ‘ massively sub-standard
and hugely outdated’, but warned of the profound concerns over what
will happen to citizens with acute psychiatric needs come the end of
August.

‘ Many people thought that this unit ( at Beaumont) was close to
completion or had been already built,’ Deputy Broughan said. ‘
According to the Health Minister ( Dr James Reilly), the contract has
been awarded for the new acute admissions unit at Beaumont and
construction on the unit will not start until the end of 2011.

‘ On July 14th, Minister Reilly reported that there was an interim
plan to refurbish part of the existing buildings at St Ita’s until the
new Beaumont unit was ready.

‘ Incredibly, however, the minister also reported on the same date
just last week that ‘ refurbishment work has not yet been undertaken
and I understand that the HSE is in discussions with the commission
with a view to agreeing alternative arrangements for patients.’

‘ It is shockingly close to the closure deadline and many patients and
their families are extremely worried because they are completely in
the dark about what will happen after August 31st.’

In reply, Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, deputising for
Minister Reilly, said officials and clinicians from north Dublin
mental health services had met with the commission and developed a
plan to refurbish part of an existing building at St Ita’s as an
interim solution, pending the completion of the new unit at Beaumont.

‘ The refurbishment work has not yet been undertaken and I understand
the HSE is in discussions with the commission with a view to agreeing
alternative arrangements for patients,’ Minister Hogan said.

‘ The HSE has, however, assured the minister that access to
appropriate acute mental health services will continue to be provided
for the people of north Dublin beyond August 31st.’

– Robin KIELY