October 2, 2020
St John of God service users need assurances that their care will continue – Mark Ward TD

Mark WardSinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has called on the government to formulate a plan to continue the care of the 8000 children and adults who are impacted by the decision of St John of God to transfer its services to the HSE.

Speaking today, Teachta Ward said: “During yesterday’s Dáil sitting on promised legislation, I raised the issue of St John of God’s decision to transfer its services to the HSE.

“Since then, I have been contacted by a number of people concerned about the care their loved ones will receive going forward. It is of the upmost importance that a continuum of care is provided to all service users of St John of God.

“The government need to formulate a plan so that there are no gaps in the treatment of people when the HSE take over the day-to-day operations. There needs to be a smooth transition for everyone involved.

“I have written to both Minister Donnelly and Minister Ryan and have called for a full report to be published on how this decision by St John of God had been reached.

“In recent weeks, St John of God wrote to the Taoiseach Micheal Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Minister for Heath Stephen Donnelly and other cabinet members to alert them of the seriousness of their financial situation.

“The board felt that it had no alternative but to instruct the HSE of 12 months’ notice of termination of their contract.

“Currently, St John of God provides intellectual disability and mental health services to more than 8,000 people. They employ 3,000 staff and volunteers, and provide services in 300 locations across counties Dublin, Kildare, Kerry, Wicklow, Meath and Louth. 

“The retention of staff is pivotal for the ongoing operation of the service. Staff need assurances that their jobs are safe and there will be no reduction in terms and conditions of their employment.

“St John of God also provide a community-based adult mental health service in addition to providing child and adolescent mental health services. At a time when mental health services are inundated with demands on their services, it is vital that these are retained and enhanced.

“I have also asked Minister Donnelly what will happen with the private, fee-paying mental health service provided by St John of God – will the HSE be taking over this element, and will this service become a public service?”

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