March 5, 2012

Union calls for Southdoc to pay rent at Finan's

BY BREDA JOY

The out of hours GP service, Southdoc, should be paying rent for former wards it is using at Saint Finan's Hospital to house its call centre and other offices, according to the Psychiatric Nurses' Association.

Union branch secretary Cormac Williams has called on the HSE to charge rent and channel it into the Mental Health services, which he says, are '"inking faster than the Titanic".

Dt Donal Coffey, who is a medical direc- tor of Southdoc, said in response that he had great sympathy for the under-funding of the psychiatric services but that the GPs did not have any input into that.

He confirmed that Southdoc did not pay rent for the St Finan's base or for the Park Road centre where GPs saw patients. The HSE uses Park Road during the day for child development services.

"The HSE gives us a grant every year to pay for the nurses," he said. "This is part of the structural funding. We only get paid when we see a patient.

"The GPs get nothing financially out of administering this out-of-hours service." Dr Coffey said the HSE found it a lot cheaper to fund the GP out-of-hours service than to deal with calls through A&E as had been happening previously.

Cormac Williams said an area covering two former wards was being occupied by Southdoc which also had free water, electricity, heating and parking there.

"It is now untenable that a mental health services on its knees should con- tinue to subsidise a'private medical co- operative owned and run by a group of 500 medical doctors whose fees and profits remain intact despite the down- turn," he said.

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