Mid Louth Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Hubert Mur­phy’s look at life in the mid Louth re­gion. To con­tact the Mid Louth In­de­pen­dent, email: hmur­phy@drogheda-in­de­pen­ | 041 9876820

THE HSE have vis­ited cen­tres in Dun­leer that could re­place the Com­mu­nity Wel­fare Clinic af­ter the de­ci­sion to close the clinic in the town.

Fer­gus O’Dowd TD rec­om­mended lo­ca­tions so that the ser­vice could re­main op­er­a­tional in the area.

The of­fice of Min­is­ter Regina Do­herty re­sponded to him, stat­ing ‘ our Area Man­ager vis­ited both premises sug­gested by you, but we are also ex­plor­ing a num­ber of other op­tions to en­hance the pro­vi­sion of CWS ser­vices across the County. We will re­vert as soon as we have had the op­por­tu­nity to fully con­sider how best to uti­lize our re­sources to max­i­mum ef­fect.

‘The De­part­ment op­er­ated an out­reach CWS clinic from HSE premises in Dun­leer each Wed­nes­day from 10am to 12 noon. An av­er­age of 7 cus­tomers at­tended, but the ma­jor­ity did not re­quire a pay­ment.

‘On 21st March 2018, the HSE build­ing man­ager in­formed the De­part­ment of Em­ploy­ment Af­fairs and So­cial Pro­tec­tion that the con­di­tion of the build­ing had rapidly de­te­ri­o­rated and now posed a se­ri­ous Health & Safety risk to cus­tomers and staff. The De­part­ment had no op­tion but to im­me­di­ately sus­pend its out­reach ser­vice.

The De­part­ment took im­me­di­ate steps to min­imise any in­con­ve­nience to its CWS clients.

‘Other so­cial pro­tec­tion ser­vices for the Dun­leer area (e.g. Job­seeker and One Par­ent Fam­ily Pay­ment) are dealt with by Drogheda In­treo Cen­tre, and Ardee Branch Of­fice. No­tices were posted di­rect­ing CWS cus­tomers to the Drogheda In­treo Cen­tre which is 15km away and on a main bus route. The CWS ser­vice there is avail­able on Tues­day, Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day each week, with an emer­gency ser­vice on de­mand. Cus­tomers can also avail of the CWS clinic in Ardee Health Cen­tre on Tues­days and Fri­days.

‘Cus­tomers have been pro­vided with a phone ser­vice staffed by ex­pe­ri­enced CWS per­son­nel in Drogheda and Ardee. If a cus­tomer is un­able to visit the cen­tres, for ex­am­ple due to ill­ness, ar­range­ments can be made to con­duct a home visit.

‘The De­part­ment is closely mon­i­tor­ing the im­pact of the clo­sure. While it has at­tracted a lot of lo­cal me­dia at­ten­tion and con­cern has been ex­pressed by pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tives, the new ar­range­ments ap­pear to be work­ing well thus far. No cus­tomer com­plaints have been re­ceived and feed­back on the tele­phone ser­vice has been very pos­i­tive. The ma­jor­ity of queries have been fully re­solved over the phone and cus­tomers have been happy to have avoided oth­er­wise un­nec­es­sary vis­its to the old clinic in Dun­leer.

‘The HSE does not in­tend to ren­o­vate the premises in Dun­leer as no HSE staff were lo­cated there. The sit­u­a­tion is be­ing kept un­der re­view by this De­part­ment, and we are cur­rently ex­plor­ing a num­ber of op­tions to en­hance the pro­vi­sion of CWS ser­vices in County Louth.’

The clinic in Dun­leer

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