Sunday, February 25, 2024

New 100-bed health and addiction centre will save HSE billions – but awaits funding

A new 100-bed health and addiction care development is set to be open by the middle of the year, pending funding, Dublin’s Simon Community has said.

Billed as Ireland’s first health and addiction care facility supporting homeless adults to transition out of homelessness, the new development will be located at Usher’s Island.

“The facility will be a game-changer for both the health sector and the homeless community as when fully funded it will save millions each year for the health system by reducing the burden on public hospitals,” said Dublin Simon’s director of programmes Majella Darcy.

“Research tells us that homeless adults are six times more likely to attend A&E, four times more likely to be admitted to hospital, and stay twice as long as people with similar symptoms who are housed.

“The facility will also generate savings in excess of €22 million annually to the HSE along with delivering a projected reduction in the region of 33,000 bed days required in acute hospitals and/or emergency department beds in the Dublin area.”

But despite significant construction progress, confirmation of funding is still pending by the Department of Health and the HSE in order to get the facility up and running, with the funding amount confirmed to date only sufficient to operate 100 beds for less than two months.

“Adequate funding will enable us to recruit staff highly skilled in working with adults experiencing multiple traumas and triple diagnoses,” Ms Darcy added.

“It will also enable us to add 50 very much needed short stay, health, and addiction homeless-specific beds to the greater Dublin area. Without funding we will need to close some of our existing beds. These existing services have been running at a deficit for over 15 years.”

The new six-storey over basement development will expand an existing treatment and recovery provision, increasing the current bed quota from 50 to 100 with more than 800 clients estimated to go through the facility annually.

On any given night it is expected that up to a minimum of 80 adults will be receiving healthcare in this facility.

“The facility will deliver tangible annual financial savings to the HSE at a time when there are so many people on hospital trollies, as well as long-term savings by investing in social capital and decreasing in population health risks,” Ms Darcy concluded.

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