HSE’s South Tipperary Therapy Services Centre – which is based in the grounds of St. Luke’s Hospital in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary – was officially opened last Wednesday.
The Centre is a single base for disability services, which were previously provided from a number of different locations. The official opening was carried out by Cllr. Liam Ahearne, Chair of the Regional Health Forum South.
This building formerly known as the Dr. Meehan Complex was a 100 bed residential unit commissioned in the 1980s for long stay mental health residents. Following the development of community based adult mental health services, in line with the national strategy “A Vision for Change”, this residential unit was no longer required and its last residents were relocated at the end of 2010 to more appropriate accommodation.
This initial phase of the refurbishment of the Dr. Meehan Complex began in September 2010 and was completed in February 2011, when community therapy services relocated to the building.
The services now incorporated in the South Tipperary Therapy Services Centre include occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology, speech and language therapy, community paediatrician, liaison nursing services and administrative support.
The building is designed to ensure that therapy rooms are closer to the entrance, thereby allowing for improved access for clients and their families and carers. Other therapists and services, not based in the building, also have access to the treatment rooms.
The Brothers of Charity Services attend for multidisciplinary team assessments and meetings. In addition, pre-school and school placement meetings are provided here, which also involves personnel from the education sector. Group based interventions, parent support sessions, psycho-educational workshops for other professionals and parents take place in the multi-therapy room.
Part of the refurbished building is being used by University College Cork and University of Limerick doctors in training. COMHAR, the South East adult counselling service, also utilize a room in the building and primary care therapists are also using facilities there.
Cllr. Liam Ahearne said he was especially pleased that the children of the South Tipperary are able to avail of such a facility. “This time last year, Minister for Health Mr. James Reilly was here to officially open the University of Limerick (UL) Graduate Entry Medical School facility in another part of the old Dr. Meehan complex. It is heartening to see this building, having served its purpose as part of the mental health services for a number of years, has now been refurbished and used to provide a range of services”.
Ms. Anna Marie Lanigan (HSE Area Manager, Carlow-Kilkenny/South Tipperary) said: “The refurbishment of this building has been hugely successful, in terms of improving service integration and access for clients and their families. The re-design of the building to facilitate these services reflects an innovative approach to service provision.
Carol Moore, the Area Co-ordinator of Disability Services South Tipperary said since locating the services on a single site, there has been a very positive response from both service providers and their families and carers. “Co-location facilitates closer working between different staff disciplines which further enhances positive outcomes for children and their families. This development has also facilitated easier access and co-ordination of appointments for families. Through this development we would hope to continue our close working relationships with local Brothers of Charity services and other regional specialist services”.