Written Answers. - Mental Health Services.

John McGuinness

Question:

553 Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for Health and Children if his Department is in receipt of plans from the South-Eastern Health Board and Kilkenny Mental Health Association with regard to the provision of a purpose built supervised hostel and occupational therapy unit at Kilcreene, Kilkenny; if his Department has examined the plans; if the project qualifies for funding; his views on whether this unit is required urgently for the region; and his Department's policy in this area. [1474/99]

My Department has, in consultation with the health boards, been involved in recent years in an ongoing programme to transfer persons with a mental handicap who have been assessed as being inappropriately placed in psychiatric hospitals to more appropriate care settings. As part of the overall development of services to persons with a mental handicap in 1999, my Department is currently putting together details of a number of proposed developments in this area for my consideration.

Officials from my Department will meet the South-Eastern Health Board to discuss both this and a number of other proposals for this population group in the board's region within the next few weeks. The South-Eastern Health Board has identified the proposed development mentioned by the Deputy as one of their priority projects under this programme and has submitted detailed information on it to my Department. I will let the Deputy know of any developments in this matter as they arise.