Hopes of acute psychiatric beds being reinstated at St Michael’s in Clonmel have been dashed.
€700,000 has been spent to upgrade St Michael’s to create thirty new beds for South Tipperary General Hospital for Covid-19 requirements.
On Monday, Tipperary Oireachtas members and mental health services campaigner, Fr Michael Toomey, met with newly appointed Minister for Mental Health and Older Persons, Mary Butler, to explore if some of those new beds could be used as acute psychiatric beds.
However, health officials who attended the meeting, ruled out that option and told the Oireachtas members that acute psychiatric beds would require much higher specifications than what was fitted for the new beds in St Michael’s - which will be used for STGH Covid-19 needs.
The meeting was also told that an upgrade of St Luke’s in Kilkenny, which is used by south Tipperary patients since the closure of St Michael’s in 2012, had improved capacity and compliance issues over the last eighteen months.
After the meeting, Minister Butler said she was fully aware of the challenges facing south Tipperary concerning mental health services.
She said officials addressed the issues of specifications regarding the new beds provided and explained why they were not suitable to be used as acute psychiatric beds.
Minster Butler said the officials told the meeting that capacity was not now the issue in St Luke’s.
The minister pointed out that there would be a national review of bed capacity conducted. Issues concerning south Tipperary would be taken on board during the process of implementing “Sharing the Vision”, a ten year national plan for mental health services.
Minister Butler said she would now push on to ensure that construction on the Grenville House crisis house in Clonmel would begin as early as possible in 2021.
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