Concerns over communication to Garnish House residents

Some family members have since disputed that there has been no communication about the closure of the facility and move elsewhere.
Concerns over communication to Garnish House residents

At a recent Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting, the Chief Executive of Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Michael Fitzgerald said that it is intended that residents will be gone from the facility “early next year - certainly by the end of quarter one of next year”, likely to be relocated to Millfield House in the short term.

Concerns have been raised about communication between the HSE and residents of Garnish House in relation to their expected move from the premises early next year.

The HSE moved residents from a mental health facility at Millfield House to the former bed and breakfast Garnish House in April 2020, as a temporary measure during the pandemic to provide more space and individual rooms for residents.

At a recent Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting, the Chief Executive of Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Michael Fitzgerald said that it is intended that residents will be gone from the facility “early next year - certainly by the end of quarter one of next year”, likely to be relocated to Millfield House in the short term.

However, some family members have since disputed that there has been no communication about the closure of the facility and move elsewhere.

At a PAC meeting on Thursday, Green Party TD for Dublin Central Neasa Hourigan sought clarification from the HSE on the issue.

Following last week’s meeting of the PAC, Deputy Hourigan received a letter from Mr Fitzgerald which stated that “there is and has been ongoing discussions with residents of this high support service to ensure that they are aware that the service will be moving at some stage” but Mr Fitzgerald said there is no finalised decision on its location.

In the correspondence, Mr Fitzgerald said the discussion “would be more in the context of keeping service users aware of the temporary nature of the service location rather than in any great detail and not to detract from their own individual plans of moving forward to a more independent living model suitable to their needs”.

He said that once the HSE is clear on the service relocation plan, that the clinical team will be engaging with each service user once again in more detail on the specifics.

“These are incredibly vulnerable people and we know from the CHO in Cork that their idea of lots of time in advance is at best three months because that’s what they did on Owenacurra and these people have been living there for a very long time,” Deputy Hourigan said.

She called on the HSE for more detail on what exactly the communication was, suggesting that there should be a log of communication.

“If a clinician is talking to a family member, they are making a note of that, that would be best practice.

“So, if the families are saying one thing and the HSE is saying another I think the way to move forward and to get rid of that grey area would be simply for the HSE to set out how they have been informing people,”

she said.

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