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HSE 'sourcing a property' for Owenacurra residents – Irish Examiner

The Owenacurra mental health facility provided residential care for people with mental health difficulties. Plans to close the facility were announced last year.
The HSE is sourcing a property for some residents of the Owenacurra mental health facility in Cork which is set to be closed.
The Minister for Mental Health said in a statement this evening that a detached house has been identified as a suitable location in the area.
Mary Butler said funding has been sought and a bid submitted.
“The current assessment is that some of the residents of Owenacurra and other East Cork service users would be suitable for such a community residence service,” said Ms Butler.
“Two of the residents’ current assessed needs are for nursing home care and the nine remaining residents’ assessed needs are indicating a reduced care need which could be met in a community residence with rehabilitative support.”
Residents are being moved on a phased basis.
The Owenacurra mental health facility provides residential care for people with mental health difficulties. Plans to close the facility were announced last year.
Residents and their family members object to the closure of the facility which they say offers residents support, routine and a community.

They mounted a major campaign to keep it open and to secure investment in the centre and earlier today pleaded with Taoiseach Micheál Martin to overturn the decision.
Ms Butler said the decision to close the facility was not taken lightly and followed “serious concerns” raised following inspection of the premises.
She defended the closure saying the will and preference of the residents have been paramount in all decisions. She is satisfied that all decisions were made with the best interests of the residents in mind.
Speaking outside the Taoiseach’s office today, families said they were still in the dark about the centre’s future.
In her statement, Ms Butler said: “The HSE continues to work with each resident individually and consult with their families to agree an appropriate alternative placement based on their assessed needs.
“Assessments with residents have been completed and consultation with families remains ongoing.”
The centre, which was built in the 1970s, was found to be in very poor condition with major defects, according to the HSE.

Ms Butler said that while the original plan was to refurbish the building, it became clear during the planning stage that it would not meet building requirements or be regarded as fit for purpose into the future.
This, she said in a statement on Friday, was supported by two independently commissioned reports.
“As the independent regulator, the Mental Health Commission in its recent inspection reports found that the premises at Owenacurra were not up to the required standard and identified two critical risks (in relation to premises and access to therapeutic services and programmes) and three high risks,” Ms Butler said.
“The matters raised by the Mental Health Commission meant that it was not appropriate or viable for the centre to continue operating.”
If refurbishments were carried out, they would not solve issues such as inadequately sized bedrooms, lack of social spaces, therapeutic spaces and essential staff support accommodation.
The decision not to proceed with refurbishment plans was made by the HSE Community Healthcare Organisations and in consultation with HSE Estates.

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