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Delay to construction of eating-disorders care facility ‘another letdown’ for sufferers

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Delay to construction of eating-disorders care facility ‘another letdown’ for sufferers

February 11
15:00 2022
Sinn Féin TD Mark Ward
Sinn Féin TD Mark Ward

People suffering with eating disorders are facing “another disappointment” after a new service has once again been delayed amid rising construction costs.

The expansion of a treatment hub at Mount Carmel Community Hospital in Churchtown, Dublin,  is still out for tender, despite an end-of-2021 completion date for the project being promised.

After it emerged last December that the project would not be ready by the end of the year, the HSE said that construction would start in the new year and that it would be ready by this June.

But now the health service has said the tender process for the project will not be finished until the end of this month at the earliest, and construction is estimated by the HSE to take at least six months when it finally begins. 

The tender process will need to be finalised before construction can start.  

Mark Ward, Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Mid-West, said he was concerned that the increasing construction costs of the project could delay it even further.

“It’s another disappointment and another fairly critical disappointment for people who are waiting for an eating-disorder service,” he said.

“At the moment, I think there’s only three eating-disorder beds for adults in the State so it’s crucial that more are made available.

“It’s being kicked down the road again. This delay is going to cause people who are waiting for services a lot of harm.”

The TD said he was aware of people with eating disorders who were currently being treated in emergency departments to increase their body mass index (BMI), with little other inpatient help available.

Mr Ward added he was concerned about the impact that rising construction costs could have on the project, and said it was important that it was not delayed any further. 

There are three public inpatient beds for eating disorders in Ireland, all at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.

These beds are available only to those living within the HSE catchment area that covers Dublin South East, Dublin South and Wicklow.

Under a plan announced in 2018, the HSE had said it would open 16 new treatment centres by 2023. Three hubs have opened so far.

Bodywhys, the eating-disorder association of Ireland, had previously said it was “deeply disappointed” with the delays to the new unit at Mount Carmel Hospital.

It said the delay announced last year had come at a time when there was a 60pc increase in referrals for treatment of eating disorders.

“In 2020, 81pc of those who accessed the HSE’s national  clinical programme for  eating disorders started treatment within four weeks. Specialist services make a significant difference to people’s recovery, quality of life and to families,” Bodywhys said in a statement last December.

A statement from the HSE said: “The tender process for the conversion of the existing convent building to an Eating Disorder Hub in Mount Carmel Hospital is ongoing. So as not to prejudice this process, the HSE is not in a position to respond on the matter of costs at this time.

“However, as construction costs are rising generally, these increases  are expected to be reflected in the tenders received for this project.

“The tender process is expected to conclude in February 2022.

“As and when ratified through the requisite approval processes, the construction duration will be approximately six months.”


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