Joint Committee on Health refers Owenacurra closure to HSE Board 'as a matter of concern'

In a letter to the board, the committee outlined that the Owenacurra Centre is the only long-stay and respite adult mental health facility in East Cork.
Joint Committee on Health refers Owenacurra closure to HSE Board 'as a matter of concern'

he Owenacurra Centre in Midldton Picture: Howard Crowdy.

THE Joint Committee on Health has referred the Owenacurra Centre closure to the HSE Board “as a matter of concern”.

In a letter to the board, the committee outlined that the Owenacurra Centre is the only long-stay and respite adult mental health facility in East Cork.

“The Owenacurra Centre has 24 beds and, in its current form, could accommodate 20 residents in single-room occupancy (if all rooms, including shared rooms, were single).

“At the time the closure was announced on June 28, 2021, there were 19 residents in the Owenacurra Centre. The closure was due to be completed by October 31 but has not come to pass due to an apparent lack of alternative placements for residents.

“The town location of the Owenacurra Centre has been key to the rehabilitation, community integration and quality-of-life of residents. The client group involved are people with severe and enduring mental illness - those with the highest level of need attending our services. 

The Owenacurra Centre has been described by one family member of a resident as “life-saving” and “transformative” for her relative, and has been greatly valued in East Cork since it was established in 1988.

The committee addressed a number of main points that have formed the rationale for the closure, from the point of view of the HSE.

The committee has said that no independent reports have, in fact, supported the HSE’s position that the Owenacurra building issues are beyond repair and that uprooting people with severe and enduring mental illness from their home involves major upheaval for them and risk of regression.

Asking the HSE Board to overturn this decision, the committee said: “The reasons advanced by Cork/Kerry HSE for closing this highly valued service would, if applied elsewhere, lead to widespread closures of other mental health facilities, and are not credible grounds for such a drastic service decision in East Cork.”

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