By Joe Barrett
An architectural report on the physical layout of the Erkina House building in Rathdowney found that it “does not comply with the guidance contained in Design for Mental Health Housing Design Guideline Manual.”
Commenting on the contents of the recent report the Minister of State in the Department of Foreign Affairs and local TD Sean Fleming said: “In all HSE facilities and especially in Erkina House the most important element to take into consideration is the needs of residents and the quality support provided to them by the staff.
The well-being of residents and the fact that they are happy and comfortable in Erkina House has been confirmed by members of their families whom I have spoken to recently and they praised the love, care, and attention the staff give to the residents.”
He said: “As part of the overall review of this situation, the architect’s report is an important input into this issue, but this report was drafted purely by looking at the building and no residents or staff were spoken to in relation to the drafting of this report.
“We all want residents to have the best possible physical facilities in the buildings where they are residing, but this report concludes that Erkina House fundamentally does not comply with the guidance contained in Design for Mental Health Housing Design Guideline Manual.
The new report which was primarily into the physical layout of the building goes on to list various issues and all aspects of the building and gives specific reasons why they have reached this conclusion.
Minister Fleming said: “The estimated initial cost of dealing with Erkina House to bring up to the required standard is €5,299,795. This is based on 2022 construction costs and makes no allowance for future inflation or any change in specifications to the building. The report also commented on certain aspects of the condition of the building and make it clear that when the HSE look at the condition of the building other issues may arise.
Separately, there is a report being prepared by an organisation called Quality Matters.
In relation to this report, Minister Fleming said: “I understand work has been completed and this involved speaking to all the stakeholders involved including the residents’ families, staff and public representatives. It is import that we see this report soon as this will have very important information as to the quality of the service being provided.”