Decision not to outsource catering at older people’s day centre welcomed

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The decision not to outsource catering facilities for an older people’s day centre in Galway City has been welcomed.

Galway TD Catherine Connolly said that the HSE has confirmed that catering services currently operating at St. Francis Home in Newcastle are not being outsourced to a private company, but will be moving location.

The HSE has decided last November to outsource catering for the day home, which also provides meals for the CAMHS unit at Merlin Park Hospital.

This was evidently due to the need for additional clinical space for staff involved in primary care services.

Deputy Connolly said that it would have been a mistake to close this “essential service” to solve a temporary accommodation problem.

She highlighted the most recent Annual Inspection Report by the Mental Health Commission, which praised the catering service.

“This facility has been an integral part of the day centre service for many years providing wholesome and nutritious meals to those attending the day centre,” Catherine Connolly said.

Deputy Connolly and Minister Anne Rabbitte met with HSE management earlier this month, and it has since been confirmed that the catering service will not be outsourced.

Instead, in order to still make space, the catering staff will be moving to a site in Merlin Park adjacent to the CAMHS, which is expected to be operational from next month.

“The ongoing provision of meals to the people who use the day centre in St Francis home by this in-house catering service is vital,” said Deputy Connolly.

The Independent TD said that she is seeking further clarification from HSE West to guarantee that this will be the case.