Speech by Minister Moloney at the opening of the interim Child and Adolescent Unit at St. Stephen’s Hospital, Cork

I am delighted to here in Cork today and I would like to thank Dave Drohan, Local Health Manager, for inviting me to open this interim 8 bed in-patient child and adolescent unit.

I understand that the Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, who will lead the multidisciplinary team here in St Stephen’s, has already commenced work and that the recruitment process for the additional staff required is underway, so the unit should be ready to accept patients fairly shortly.

The opening of this new dedicated child and adolescent facility is a most welcome development and will enable the provision of in-patient, mental health services to young people up to 18 years from across the the southern region, while construction is carried out on the new 20 bed unit in Bessborough. I had the pleasure of “turning the sod” there on the new unit this morning.

These new child and adolescent units are being developed in line with the former Southern Health Board’s Development Plan for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – ‘Mol an Oige’ and ‘A Vision for Change’, the national policy framework for mental health.

I would like to congratulate all concerned on the substantial progress to date in the development of child and adolescent services here in Cork. In particular I would like to acknowledge the contributions of staff of the Health Service Executive, the Department of Education, Science & Technology and the Community of Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary. Of course A Vision for Change recognises that mental health services should be characterised and led by a partnership between all stakeholders. A comprehensive mental health care system requires that services at all levels work in an integrated, coordinated fashion for the benefit of all people with mental health difficulties. I am glad to see that the spirit of A Vision for Change is alive and well in Cork.

I have no doubt that the services which will be provided here at St Stephen’s will go a long way to help young people in difficulty and to help prevent them from developing major mental health problems which sometimes manifest in late adolescence or early adulthood. Developments such as these can have a significant and positive impact on the lives of our young people.

Finally, I would like to wish all at St. Stephen’s every success in the development and roll out of the new services both here and, in time, Bessborough.