NO staff are to lose their jobs following confiirmation this week that the â€œabsolute deadlineâ€ for the closure of St Josephâ€™s mental hospital in Limerick is the end of this year.
The HSE said no staff would be made redundant from the hospital, as all personnel are being redeployed to other units.
News of the closure follows two critical reports from the Mental Health Commission (MHC) on conditions in the hospital. The closure of the 187-year old hospital has been in the pipeline since 2002, but the HSE has said the number of beds will be reduced from 23 to 16 by this March, and all admissions ceased two years ago.
In a statement to the Limerick Leader the HSE further outlined that the last remaining 16-bed male only ward is to close as soon as possible â€œif all patients are able to be facilitated in more alternative or suitable accommodationâ€.
The age range of the males currently staying in the Mulgrave Street hospital is from 31 to 70 years, and their periods of stay in the hospital range between eight and 45 years.
The HSE said all patients are actively involved in their individual discharge plan and this consultation process also includes involvement of the immediate family.
â€œAs the patients in St Josephâ€™s have lived in the hospital for most of their lives it is imperative that the discharge of each patient is managed comprehensively and sensitively.
â€œAlmost all patients who have been discharged from the hospital to date have moved to a high support hostel, community rehabillitation unit or local nursing home,â€ they outlined.
From this March there will be approximately 10-12 staff remaining in the hospital to aid the remaining patients.