Man with ‘nowhere to go’ ordered to leave HSE medical facility

Lawyer claims man in his 30s will be left ‘on the street’ as a result of health body’s move

The HSE has secured a High Court order compelling a man, who it says has been fit for discharge for some time, to leave one of its medical facilities. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

The HSE has secured a High Court order compelling a man, who it says has been fit for discharge for some time, to leave one of its medical facilities. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

 

The HSE has secured a High Court order compelling a man, who it says has been fit for discharge for some time, to leave one of its medical facilities.

Mr Justice Garett Simons said he was satisfied to grant the injunction on terms including that the man vacates the facility in the coming days.

Lawyers for the man accept that he no longer needs to be at the facility, but argued that he has nowhere else to go.

Vincent Heneghan SC, for the man, told the court that granting an injunction would render his client “homeless” and would leave him “on the street”.

The judge said this was unfortunate but it is not the HSE’s duty to provide the man, who is in his 30s, with accommodation. He also noted that it was “significant” that the man had previously turned down a move to a step-down facility.

Mr Justice Simons also noted that accommodation provided by a local authority may be available to the man in the next two to six weeks and that he “is not alone in this world” and has family members and friends who visit him.

The injunction is to remain in place pending a full hearing of the dispute. Neither the man nor the HSE facility he is residing at can be identified for legal reasons.

Medical condition

The mas was last year admitted to a hospital and required surgery due to a very serious medical condition. He has since undergone various medical treatments. He made a relatively good recovery and for the last number of months has been staying in a single room at a HSE-run facility.

The HSE, represented by Shane Murphy SC and David Leahy Bl, claimed that given the man’s improvement there was no clinical reason for him to remain at the facility, and that he had been formally clinically discharged.

However, he refused to leave due to an inability to obtain any suitable alternative accommodation. The HSE said it needed the use of the room, and there was no medical basis for his continued presence there.

The HSE, which said it did what it could to help the man obtain accommodation, said that other patients are being prejudiced by the man’s unlawful occupation of the bedroom. He has no lawful entitlement to be there and was a trespasser, it claimed.

The man had opposed the injunction, arguing that the HSE had a legal obligation to allow the him to stay at the facility until suitable accommodation can be provided. The court also heard that it was not possible for the man to reside with family members or friends and that no suitable offer of accommodation that would cater to his needs had been offered to him.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Simons rejected the defendant’s arguments. The court also made orders restraining the man, or any other person, from seeking to return him to the facility other than by appointment, going near the facility, contacting staff there and from interfering with its operation.

The HSE, he said, had made out a strong case which was “almost overwhelming” in favour of granting the injunction.