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Deer Lodge facility set to open its doors on July 11

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KERRY MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES has confirmed that residents will move into Deer Lodge, Killarney, on July 11. In September, Killarney Advertiser highlighted how members of the Kerry branch of the Psychiatric Nurses’ Association were concerned that the brand-new €13 million facility was lying idle.

There has this week been a broad welcome for the opening of the centre, on St Margaret’s Road. “Once open, it will be a facility which all of Kerry will be proud of. Above all, opening Deer Lodge will be a tremendous move for the people currently living in the out-dated and entirely unsuitable O’Connor Unit,” added the HSE statement. “It will allow for the improved provision of services and therapeutic intervention in rehabilitative and older persons mental health.”

Considerable work and investment has gone into getting Deer Lodge ready for opening, noted the HSE. The opening of Deer Lodge will mean that there will be an overall increase of eight beds in Mental Health Services in Kerry, and there will be a corresponding increase in staff number of 28.5. In terms of the ratio of staff to residents, there will be a total of 65.46 WTE (whole time equivalents) for 40 residents.

An additional €1.15 million has been allocated for staffing to ensure the safe transfer of residents. “Again, management are absolutely confident that this level of staffing will provide a safe and high quality service to the residents of Deer Lodge," stated the HSE.

The Mental Health Commission (MHC) has recently conducted a site visit as part of the registration process and that commission has also reviewed and approved the staff ratios. The Labour Court issued a binding recommendation last month in relation to the opening of this important and much-needed facility.

The issue was referred to the Labour Court after agreement was not reached at the WRC. Following a hearing last month (May), a binding ruling was issued by the Labour Court.

The court found that “the most efficient way forward is for the staff to move to the new facility with immediate effect under the terms of the WRC proposal of April 18”. It also ruled that both parties should “continue to engage with a view to putting final staffing and operational arrangements in place on foot of the six month review envisaged in that proposal”.

At a branch meeting of the Kerry Branch of the Psychiatric Nurses’ Association on June 13, members agreed to cooperate with the transfer of services from the O’Connor Unit, to Deer Lodge on July 11. But members continued to express grave concern in relation to the lack of nurses being assigned to Deer Lodge and believe that this will cause a health and safety issue going forward for both staff and residents.

Mental health nurses commenced the withdrawal from Cluain Fhionnain, Ballydribeen, Killarney, a 30-bed Intellectual Disability Services in Ballydribeen, Killarney, on June 12. Cluain Fhionnain was opened in 2001 when 30 residents from St Finan’s Hospital transferred to the facility in Ballydribeen.

Fifteen residents will remain on in Cluain Fhionnain under the care of a private care provider name Home Instead. It is envisaged that the remaining residents will transfer out to houses in the community over the next 12 to 18 months.

“Thirty nursing staff will transfer back to Kerry mental health services, but regrettably not a single staff member or resource from Cluain Fhionnain will transfer to a community setting or new service initiative in line with a Vision for Change,” said Cormac Williams of the Kerry branch of the Psychiatric Nurses’ Association. “The HSE policy of closure, retreat and retrenchment within Kerry mental health service continues unabated, and services developments like 24/7 Suicide Prevention, 24/7 Crisis Intervention, Respite Care, Outreach remain a distant aspiration rather than a tangible reality within Kerry mental health service. Nurses from Cluain Fhionnain will be reassigned to fill existing vacancies in other parts of the county and reduce overtime costs.

“The PNA believes the management of Kerry mental health service have once again missed a golden opportunity to do something, positive, constructive and worthwhile for both the services and staff of Kerry mental health services with the transfer of Cluain Fhionnain to a private care provider.”
 


 
Above: Pictured are Deer Lodge are Aidan Murphy, Assistant Director of Nursing (ADON) Kerry Mental Health Services (KMHS), Adrian Morrisson, Projects Officer, KMHS, Minister Brendan Griffin, Senator Paul Coghlan, Mary O’Mahony, Area Director of Nursing, KMHS, Helen McEntee, Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Sinead Glennon, Head of Mental Health Cork and Kerry, Christine Carroll, Area Administrator, KMHS, Cllr John Sheehan and Dr Darra Phelan, Consultant Psychiatrist in Rehabilitation.

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Develop skills and improve employability

By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors Traineeships are developed and delivered on an ongoing basis by Education and Training Boards (ETBs) nationwide and are open to potential participants of all ages and backgrounds including school leavers, mature learners and those in or seeking employment. Developed in partnership with industry representatives […]

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

Traineeships are developed and delivered on an ongoing basis by Education and Training Boards (ETBs) nationwide and are open to potential participants of all ages and backgrounds including school leavers, mature learners and those in or seeking employment.

Developed in partnership with industry representatives and employers, these programmes combine learning in the classroom with a minimum of 30 percent of learning on-the-job. The focus is on ‘learning on the go’ and developing perspectives that are in tune with the ever evolving world of work. They span across a range of industry sectors including business and retail, media, manufacturing, agriculture, horticulture and mariculture, care, construction, engineering, animal science, fashion and beauty, finance, ICT, hospitality, sports and leisure, and logistics.

At the core of the scheme is a strong collaboration with the ETBs in the provision of work-based learning opportunities on existing and new programmes. Traineeships lead to an award at Levels 4-6 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) and are between six to 24 months in duration. Over 75 programmes are available nationwide – although not all of them will be available nationally at all times – and the content, award and duration may vary. They are designed for flexible delivery to include online, face-to-face and blended learning.

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Second level or higher education students who are interested in participating in a Traineeship Programme should contact their local ETB, adult learners should contact the Adult Education Guidance Service through their local ETB, and jobseekers will be able to access information through their local Intreo Office or Local Employment Service. For those currently unemployed, a training allowance or income support may be available. You can check out the range of opportunities offered through Traineeships nationwide on www.fetchcourses.ie and more locally check out the www.kerrycollege.ie.

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant – For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Return to work courses

Answer: Springboard+ provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed (or were self-employed) and those looking to return to the workforce. Courses are offered in different areas including Information and Communications Technology (ICT), medical technologies, cybersecurity, sustainable energy and financial services. The courses range from certificate to master’s degree level – Levels 6 […]

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Answer: Springboard+ provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed (or were self-employed) and those looking to return to the workforce.

Courses are offered in different areas including Information and Communications Technology (ICT), medical technologies, cybersecurity, sustainable energy and financial services.

The courses range from certificate to master’s degree level – Levels 6 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Most of the courses are part-time and last for one year or less, but there are some full-time courses.
You can access a free Springboard+ course, if you are getting a qualifying social welfare payment such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Benefit or the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). You can get a full list of qualifying payments for Springboard+ on citizensinformation.ie

If you are not getting a qualifying social welfare payment, you will have to meet the residency criteria for Springboard+.

You can also apply for a Springboard+ course if:

* You are a qualified adult of working age (under 66) on someone else’s social welfare payment
* You are signing for social insurance credits
* You are on an employment support scheme such as Community Employment (CE) or TUS

To apply for a Springboard+ course, you choose the course(s) you are interested in on springboardcourses.ie and apply online, following the instructions on the website. You can apply for up to 10 courses, but you can only take one course.

If you are getting a social welfare payment, you should notify your Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office and check what further steps (if any) you need to take.
If Springboard+ doesn’t meet your needs, there are several other ways to go back to education.
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During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

Tralee on Tel: Call 0761 07 7860, Monday – Friday (10am-4pm)
The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

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