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‘Good news’ for service users, families and staff of St John of God services in North East

News that the St. John of God Community Services in the North East are to continue has come ‘as a huge relief to families and staff’, says Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú.

amilies whose loved ones use the services provided in Louth by the organisation received a letter from St John of God Community Services CEO, Clare Dempsey, saying an agreement has been reached with the HSE in relation to the continuation of service provision across the organisation.

There had been major concerns that SJOG Community Services were to close in the coming weeks after the organisation served a notice of termination of the service arrangement they had with the HSE.

The move prompted efforts to ensure the services stayed open and, in a letter to families, Ms Dempsey said SJOG has ‘formally decided to defer the Notice of Termination of the Service Arrangement with the HSE’.

She told families: ‘I am happy to confirm therefore, that the plan for the transfer of services to the HSE by September 30 2021 is on hold for the present time’.

Deputy Ó Murchú said he was pleased with the decision, which ‘comes as a huge relief to families and staff’.

He said: ‘This is good news for those who provide the service and those who use it. There was a lot of concern about the situation, particularly among families whose loved ones benefit from the services.’

‘There is now a process in place where a Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) will be carried out and funding arrangements will be established in order for SJOG to continue to provide these much-needed services.’

‘The SIA could provide a framework for other, similar Section 38 providers to use to assist with funding into the future.’

It is clear from what has happened in this situation that there is an issue with the funding of these kind of services and the current model was not fit for purpose. ‘The transition of people from congregated settings to community-based services is more costly, but far more beneficial for those involved and the HSE and the government have to recognise that additional funding, and better mechanisms to access it, must be made available’.

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