HSE denies people with sex violence in past to be treated near Galway school

‘No basis’ for linking mental health facility and people with history of sexual offending

The move to Sherwood House in the city follows the transfer of 80 staff from the mental health services building at University Hospital Galway.

The move to Sherwood House in the city follows the transfer of 80 staff from the mental health services building at University Hospital Galway.

 

The HSE has denied that a facility next to a primary school in Galway which is being leased to treat outpatients with psychiatric illnesses will cater for people with a history of sexual violence.

The move to Sherwood House in the city follows the transfer of 80 staff from the mental health services building at University Hospital Galway, which is to be demolished.

At the HSE West Health Forum in Merlin Park Hospital in Galway on Tuesday, Fianna Fáil councillor Donagh Killilea asked if people with a history of sexual violence would be treated there. He said he knew the building and would not have thought it a setting for anyone with mental issues as it is “not hugely private”.

“No matter what ailments a person has, they would be entitled to privacy and I personally don’t think such a public building on a public road where parents and children are passing is appropriate.”

Tony Canavan, executive chairman of the regional health forum, said there was “no basis” for linking the facility and people with sexual offending in their past.

“The association between sexually offensive behaviour and mental health is absolutely unfounded and I think making that association is very unhelpful and that people seeking treatment need to know they will not be stigmatised.

“What is proposed for Sherwood House is a community mental health base, it is part of national policy that we would locate a team there, who go to see patients in their own homes and also see outpatients on site,” he said, adding that “there is nothing hidden about this and nothing we want to hide about this”.

Blood tests

The forum also heard concerns about people with medical cards being charged for blood tests by GPs.

Cllr Dáithí O Cualáin (Fianna Fáil) said some people with medical cards were being told to pay €20 when they “need to get their bloods done”.

“I would ask that it be reiterated to GPs that if people have medical cards, they should not be charged for having bloods taken,” he told the forum.

Mr Canavan said it would not be expected that people with a medical card should have to pay for these tests and the HSE had sent out reminders to GPs in the past about charging.

“ I think by and large the situation has improved but we will be very happy to follow up on any queries,” he said.