Almost half a million euro in funding has been secured to reintroduce a community based alcohol addiction service in Galway.
There has been no such community based option for alcohol addiction treatment in Galway since the old facility at Merlin Park Hospital burned down in 2012.
But Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton has said that the newly published HSE service plan includes €470,000 for the lease of a dedicated building and the employment of multiple staff for this service in Galway in 2020.
This will include three dedicated alcohol addiction counsellors, a family support counsellor, a project worker, a liaison nurse and administrative staff.
“Before this service closed in 2012 up to 50 people a day sought counselling or treatment for drug or alcohol dependency. Since then there has effectively been no help when people required it,” Hildegarde Naughton said.
“This has resulted in admissions to UCHG which could have been prevented and created a huge amount of distress for many in Galway and surrounding areas. I am glad to have been able to play my part in ensuring that this vital service can recommence.”
Deputy Naughton has been lobbying for the return of this service in the past year, working with local activists, doctors, addiction counsellors and Gardai to lobby health Minister Simon Harris.
“The funding announced today is precisely what the groups working in the area asked for,” the Fine Gael TD said.
“Since the old facility burned down in 2012 there has been no dedicated alcohol addiction treatment service in Galway.
“This has created huge problems for patients and their families and has caused a major burden to fall on local GPs who had no referral system and also pressure on the Psychiatric and Emergency Departments at UCHG.”
Deputy Naughton thanked Sean Harty, Chairperson of Addiction Counsellors of Ireland, and Tony Canavan, CEO of the Saolta Hospital Group, who put the funding proposal to the HSE after hearing local concerns.
“All the members of the Galway Alcohol Services Working Group are hugely deserving of praise for their perseverance and hard work over many years,” she concluded.