New mental health unit completed two years ago to open its doors in Killarney today

A new mental health unit completed two years ago will open its doors in Killarney today.

Deer Lodge is a €13 million, 40 bed mental health unit that will replace the O’Connor Unit.

The PNA had been objecting to the opening of the unit due to concerns about the lack of nurses which they believe will cause a health and safety issue.
The Kerry branch of the Psychiatric Nurses Association last month accepted a binding Labour Court recommendation on Deer Lodge.

Today’s opening will see the transfer of 31 residents from the O’Connor Unit at the rear of St Finan’s Hospital, to Deer Lodge, located by Killarney district hospital; an additional nine beds will be opened over the coming weeks.

Deputies John Brassil and Danny Healy-Rae have welcomed the news. Deputy Brassil said it was long over due while Deputy Healy-Rae paid tribute to all those involved for their hard work.

The PNA says while nurses welcome the new state of the art building and facilities, they remain gravely concerned about the quality and standard of care.

They feel health and safety will be seriously compromised due to an out of date service delivery model, adding that no modern initiatives are included in the new building project.

The PNA believes the solution being imposed by the Labour Court is likely to see a marked increase in nurse retirements over the coming year.