Threat to health facilities: Under-fire HSE to meet politicians on Friday

The HSE will meet with local politicians this Friday as anger mounts over how the health authority has dealt with speculation about possible closure and/or amalgamation of mental health facilities in County Roscommon.

  Last week Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins alleged in an article in the Roscommon People that the HSE has been outlining one position in public and a contrary position to staff and service users.

  Previously, Senator Hopkins had said she had received assurances from HSE chiefs that no health facilities in Roscommon are under threat. Senator Hopkins has now been accused by Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice of doing a u-turn on the issue.

  There has been ongoing speculation about the fate of a number of day care facilities in different parts of County Roscommon. In recent days the concerns of service users, their families and staff escalated when the HSE said their mental health team is currently exploring re-configuring existing day centres. The HSE went on to say that if it is felt that some day centres “are no longer required”, then staff will be redeployed to “strengthen other day centres.”

  Senator Hopkins now says she is “extremely angry and furious with the HSE” over how the situation has been handled.

  Senator Hopkins said that in her discussions with the HSE in recent weeks there had never been any mention of potential closures and amalgamation of mental health services. 

  Accusing the HSE of misleading the public, Senator Hopkins said she is “not willing to accept this type of conduct from this organisation,” adding that people using these services and their families – along with staff – “must be provided with the truth and facts.”

  It is understood that Tony Canavan, the HSE’s Chief Health Officer of Community Services, has now agreed to meet with TDs and Senators and members of the Regional Health Forum at 2 pm on Friday (in Roscommon town).

  Meanwhile, Senator Hopkins, who raised the issues in the Seanad on Wednesday, has called for the external report into mental health services within the county to be made available as quickly as possible.

  “No change or changes should take place without taking into account the views and needs of people using the mental health service and their families.”