Dáil Éireann - Volume 495 - 03 November, 1998
Written Answers. - Mental Health Services.
Ms Shortall Ms Shortall
409. Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 238 and 239 of 16 June 1998, the reason St. Agnes's ward in St Conal's Hospital, Letterkenny, County Donegal, is to be closed in the near future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21282/98]
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Cowen) Brian Cowen
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Cowen): The provision of mental health services in the County Donegal area is a matter for the North-Western Health Board. The board has indicated that St. Agnes's ward in St. Conal's Hospital, Letterkenny will be developed to facilitate the establishment of a rehabilitation unit for older people. This will mean a change of use for this ward area. St. Agnes's ward currently accommodates 22 long-stay psychiatric patients as well as long-stay older people. These patients will be accommodated in other wards on St. Conal's campus or in facilities for older people or existing psychiatric community facilities as appropriate to their individual needs. As I indicated previously, the board is also planning to provide a number of supervised community residential facilities in County Donegal which will include accommodation for some patients who are currently in St. Conal's Hospital.
I would point out the policy of affording people who have been residing in psychiatric hospitals the opportunity of living in community residences has been accepted by successive Governments as providing a much enhanced quality of life and independent living for these people. The development of active rehabilitation services for patients is an integral part of this policy.
Dáil Éireann 495 Written Answers. Mental Health Services.