The HSE South today (June 1) outlined the final phase of the major change programme underway in Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary Mental Health Services.
In implementing this major change programme across the extended catchment area (ECA) of Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary, in line with A Vision for Change, significant progress has already been achieved including the: continued move away from the old model of institutional care, the enhancement and development of community-based services, the separation of North and South Tipperary acute inpatient mental health services and the development of appropriate acute day services in South Tipperary (day hospitals, crisis house) and acute inpatient services in St Luke’s General Hospital Kilkenny
Outlining the final phase of the change programme in the area, as agreed with the Minister of State, the Department of Health and the Mental Health Commission (MHC), the HSE South reiterated its commitment to ensuring that people who use the mental health services have easy access to appropriate care in the most appropriate setting. All the necessary community based services to accommodate this change programme would be in place before the cessation of any existing service. To this end, the following key community based services are now in place: Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs) across the ECA of Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary were amalgamated and enhanced with additional multi-disciplinary staff.
Two new Acute Day Services (Day Hospitals) were opened in both Clonmel and Cashel. Existing Acute Day Services (Day Hospitals) in Carlow and Kilkenny have been enhanced, and are providing additional hours of service.
Three Home-Based Treatment Teams (HBTTs) across the area are operational following the redeployment of 21 nursing staff
The existing South Tipperary Community Mental Health Team (CMHT), Home Based Treatment Team and Acute Day Services (Day Hospital) will relocate to a new and permanent location in Clonmel in June 2012, facilitating the co-location and further enhancement of these services. Six additional Allied Health Professionals have been appointed. Crisis/Respite House – Edel Quinn House: Edel Quinn House in Clonmel has been refurbished and is ready for use. Once admissions to St Michael’s Acute Unit have ceased, the Crisis/Respite House will become operational as nine nursing staff will be redeployed from St. Michael’s to Edel Quinn House.
Heywood Lodge Community Nursing Unit: The Mental Health Commission confirmed registration for Heywood Lodge Community Nursing Unit, Clonmel in April 2012 as an approved centre for a period of three years under Section 64 of the Mental Health Act 2001. Residents from St Luke’s Hospital have now transferred to the new Unit. High Support Services: The remaining residents in St. Teresa’s Unit, St. Luke’s Hospital will transfer to the newly built 12 bed high support hostel (Rehabilitation Unit) in Clonmel in June 2012 and staff in the Unit will be redeployed. Following this transfer, St Luke’s Hospital Clonmel will close in line with the recommendation of the MHC.
Mr. Pat Healy, Regional Director of Operations, HSE South said, “The priority for the HSE South is to deliver a first class mental health service to people in Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary. The implementation of the overall change programme in our mental health services has always been underpinned by the delivery of a modern, safe and responsive mental health service in line with A Vision for Change. This is the culmination of five years work and we are now in the position to provide a comprehensive range of community based services to people enabling them to remain in their own home and community to the greatest extent possible. This should significantly improve people’s care and quality of life, supporting them to live independently and avoid admission to hospital if possible.”
Acute Inpatient Services Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary
Having put in place the range of community based mental health services we are ready to proceed with the cessation of inpatient admissions to St. Michael’s Acute Mental Health Unit in Clonmel and the transfer of acute in-patient mental health services to the Department of Psychiatry, St. Luke’s General Hospital, Kilkenny as follows.
· Admissions to St Michael’s Unit will cease on the 5th June 2012 and the Unit will close on a phased basis over a four week period ceasing its operation as an approved centre (in line with the Mental Health Commission)
· Acute inpatient services will transfer to the 44 bed Acute Inpatient Unit, Department of Psychiatry, St Luke’s General Hospital, Kilkenny. Arrangements are in place from a medical and nursing perspective for the receipt of South Tipperary patients in the Department of Psychiatry in St Luke’s in Kilkenny along with arrangements in relation to transport for patients who require assistance in this regard.
· 21 staff currently assigned to St Michael’s Unit will be redeployed to work in Edel Quinn House, the new Community Nursing Unit and the Community Mental Health Teams.
It is important to acknowledge the decision of the High Court on 27th April 2012 confirming the legal status of the Clonmel / Cashel agreement and, the HSE South in finalising the implementation of this major change programme in the area in line with A Vision for Change, is fully compliant with all legal requirements.
Dr. Frank Kelly, HSE Executive Clinical Director for Mental Health Services in Carlow/Kilkenny/South Tipperary said, “Mental health services in the area have undergone significant positive change in recent years. With the ongoing implementation of A Vision for Change, we will continue to see a more modern and responsive service that puts the service user at the centre of what we do. I want to pay tribute to all those who contribute to achieving what is set out in A Vision for Change; with the enhancement of community based services we can ensure that people using our mental health services have easy access to appropriate care in the most appropriate setting. This lends itself to the continued move towards a service that facilitates ‘recovery’, with people being supported by our services as necessary”.
Mr. Damien Godkin, Senior Operations Officer, National Service Users Executive welcomed the progress and said, “The culmination of this major change programme will see the vast majority of patients and clients being treated in their homes or in their local community. This is a very welcome development for service users and their families and will significantly enhance their quality of life. A Vision for Change sets out how mental health services should be delivered and the change programme in Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary is very much aligned with what is set out in the strategy and what is considered best practice, both nationally and internationally.
“The development of Consumer Panels in Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary will see local service users/families members influence how services are delivered. Members will also sit on local governance and management meetings in partnership with all stakeholders creating and implementing this modern, flexible and responsive mental health service. In addition the development of the South Tipperary Action Network (STAN) and LINK UP in Kilkenny (voluntary and statutory agencies working collectively) will help bring in new untapped community resources thus helping to create the holistic approach to mental health services so desired by people that NSUE represent”.
Throughout the development and implementation of this significant change programme, there has been ongoing communication with service users, carers, clinicians, staff organisations, GPs, voluntary sectors partners and other key stakeholders and the HSE will continue this engagement as it moves forward in the future.
Acknowledging the significant change that has already taken place across the service in recent years, Mr. Healy concluded, “Change can be a challenging process and I want to acknowledge the contribution and commitment of staff at every level in bringing this about. In line with best practice nationally and internationally, this plan sees our mental health services moving from a hospital based model to providing more care in communities and in clients’ own homes. I know the dedicated teams working across the services will continue to provide the highest standards of care and continue to build on what has been achieved to date. Our focus now will be on fully establishing and monitoring the services coming on stream, taking account of feedback from all those we engage with, and addressing any issues that arise as quickly as possible. The final phase of implementing this major change programme is a significant positive development, primarily for services users and their families, but also for staff who will be working in a dynamic, modern and responsive service that is totally focused on the needs of the service users.”