Construction work has begun on the 20 bed St Anne’s child and adolescent unit located on the grounds of Merlin Park Hospital.
The new unit, which is expected to be completed at the end of the year, will replace St Anne’s Child and Adolescent Centre at Taylor’s Hill.
The centre will provide children and adolescents who have emotional or behavioural disorders with appropriate levels of assessment, treatment and care so that they can attain and maintain a good state of mental health.
It will provide an extended range of services to meet the in-patient needs of children up to age 18 together with a wide range of therapeutic interventions. In addition, the local community based teams will be extended. Additional staff have been recruited including a full time specialist consultant psychiatrist, a dietitian, mental health nurses and a psychologist to support the services to enhance mental health services for children and adolescents in Galway.
Minister for Equality, Disability and Mental Health John Moloney turned the sod for the facility recently and marked his visit to the site by planting a cherry blossom tree.
The development of the new unit was identified as a priority in the 2008 implementation plan for the National Mental Health Strategy, “A Vision for Change”, and forms an element of a wider plan to modernise the Irish mental health services.
The unit, which is being constructed at a cost of €7.5m, will have an overall floor area of approximately 2,500sq m and will include a children’s in-patient unit, an adolescent in-patient unit and overnight accommodation for parents. The therapy space will include a sensory room, play and arts therapy areas, a wood work room, a games room and a sports/indoor activity hall. The centre will also incorporate landscaped gardens with carefully designed therapeutic areas.
Adrian Ahern, the manager of mental health services for Galway, says the unit will provide a specialist in-patient facility to address the anomaly of young people who currently may be admitted to acute adult units due to the lack of a specialised service.
“This unit will serve the HSE West area and will strengthen the community-based teams that are doing such good work in community settings across the HSE West region.”
The contract to build the new facility was secured by Cordil Construction following a highly competitive two-stage tender process.
Commenting on this success, managing director of Cordil Construction, Gerry Dillon, stated this project represents another milestone in the development of the company’s healthcare portfolio.
“We were previously involved with projects in Castlebar, Roscommon, Sligo and Galway. We look forward to working with the HSE and the design team in delivering a state-of-the art facility for the west.”