Fears restructuring will leave gaps in Cork's drug and alcohol services

Under new arrangements which came into effect with the new year, community-based drug and alcohol services in Cork city and the Cork/Kerry region have been centralised to six hubs.
Fears restructuring will leave gaps in Cork's drug and alcohol services

Under new arrangements which came into effect with the new year, community-based drug and alcohol services in Cork city and the Cork/Kerry region have been centralised to six hubs, with the city services divided between Cork City North and Cork City South, and the remainder of the region between hubs at Tralee, Mallow, Midleton, and Enniskeane.

CONCERNS have been raised that recent changes to the structure of community-based drug and alcohol services in Cork city and in the Cork/Kerry area may result in some who need those services being “left behind”, according to Cork North Central Solidarity TD Mick Barry.

Under new arrangements which came into effect with the new year, community-based drug and alcohol services in Cork city and the Cork/Kerry region have been centralised to six hubs, with the city services divided between Cork City North and Cork City South, and the remainder of the region between hubs at Tralee, Mallow, Midleton, and Enniskeane.

Services are provided by Coolmine in partnership with the Health Service Executive (HSE).

A spokesperson for the HSE said: “Drug and Alcohol teams from Cork Kerry Community Healthcare along with our external partners are committed to working in more communities than previously following the introduction of a decentralised hub structure.

“What is being developed is a ‘hub and spoke’ model with one single employer,” the spokesperson said.

“This will mean a significant increase in our locations to 30 sites across Cork and Kerry.

“This increase will include a rise in the number of staff working in these services across Cork and Kerry, while substantially increasing the number of people we will be supporting in the coming months and years,” the spokesperson added.

Deputy Barry raised concerns, however, that drug and alcohol service workers who were previously based in communities such as Blackpool, Farranree, Mayfield and Gurranabraher will now spend just one day per week based in those communities and will spend the rest of their working week in the new Cork City North hub in the Glen.

“The pandemic and all the mental health pressures it brings make community-based drug and alcohol service provision more important than ever now,” Mr Barry said.

“No doubt service provision for many will not be interrupted but there is, in my opinion, a real danger that others who need these services will to some extent be left behind,” stated Deputy Barry.

Mr Barry said it is his intention to keep a close eye on how the recent changes affect community-based drug and alcohol services in the weeks and months ahead.

The HSE’s confidential Drug and Alcohol helpline is 1800 459459, and its email support service can be contacted at helpline@hse.ie.

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