By Cate McCurry, PA
The officially opening of a new Central Mental Hospital in north Dublin has heralded a new era of mental health services in Ireland, according to the HSE.
The hospital has been relocated from Dundrum to the new site in Portrane.
It is Ireland’s largest capital project and cost in the region of €200 million.
The new facility will provide care for 130 patients, and has capacity to look after 170 patients on campus when fully-operational in the future, as well as community and prison in-reach services.
The hospital also has a Forensic Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (FCAMHS) and an Intensive Care Rehabilitation Unit (ICRU) on site.
For 175 years the CMH operated as a therapeutic facility run under a hospital ethos and offered a range of forensic mental health services to its patients.
It is the only centre in the Republic to provide specialist forensic psychiatric treatment for acute, medium and longer-term psychiatric care.
Some 130 single patient bedrooms are laid out in small wards around shared indoor and outdoor spaces, in which collective activities and therapies take place.
The “village centre” provides shared recreational facilities, including a horticultural area, a gym, a woodwork workshop and a music room, while a series of courtyards and secure perimeter gardens. The village centre also houses mental health therapeutic services, a GP and a dentist.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said: “Today is a significant and historic day for the Irish health service. This fantastic new facility brings real and necessary change to the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our society.
“This opening reiterates the Government’s commitment that healthcare to this vulnerable group should be delivered on the same values, principles and approaches that apply to all others in society.”
Patrick Bergin, head of service at NFMHS said: “The opening of the Central Mental Hospital in Portrane as part of the National Forensic Mental Health Service is a key milestone in the delivery of a modern forensic service to our patients.
Wonderful to attend the opening of our new National Forensic Mental Health Service at Portrane, replacing the Central Mental Hospital at Dundrum. A critical new infrastructure to support modern mental health services @HSELive @NOSPIreland #sharingthevision pic.twitter.com/AXnoI1C01D
— Philip Dodd (@pcdodd) November 4, 2022
“We now have the opportunity to be a centre of excellence and evolve our delivery of treatment and care for patients further.
“This is a welcome day for patients, family/carers and our staff and this new facility provides us with opportunities to be a world leader in this specialist field.”
NFMHS will also offer five clusters of forensic mental health care, including a pre-discharge unit, female unit, mental health intellectual disability unit, high secure unit and a medium secure unit.
Stephen Mulvany, interim chief executive of the HSE said: “I am delighted to be here to mark this historic day.
“While the Dundrum site has a capacity of 96 patients, the National Forensic Mental Health Service increases that capacity to 110 beds initially, with a further expansion to 130 beds to occur in 2023.
“The opening of the Intensive Rehabilitation Care Units (ICRU) is also due to progress in 2023, treating 30 patients who require specific interventions, and will inform the strategic rollout of a number of other facilities nationally.”