St Christopher’s cash crisis continues

CEO of St Christopher's Services, Pat O'Toole.
Management at St Christopher’s Services are still no nearer to learning how the HSE intends on addressing a €450,000 shortfall in its daily running costs, writes Liam Cosgrove.

Management at St Christopher’s Services are still no nearer to learning how the HSE intends on addressing a €450,000 shortfall in its daily running costs, writes Liam Cosgrove.

The Leader understands both sides have yet to agree on any definitive solution that might help arrest the Longford based facility’s worsening financial situation since a meeting was last held on August 5.

Those talks came amid heightening fears frontline services might have to be curtailed to withstand the six figure deficit.

Additional staff were added to the pay roster in an attempt to deal with the changing demands of over a dozen service users, resources St Christopher’s management want the HSE to support by way of financial assistance.

However, it’s believed health chiefs have looked at possibly outsourcing services at two of St Christopher’s residential care locations in Longford and Ballymahon, throwing those hopes into doubt.

CEO Pat O’Toole said the need for clarity couldn’t be greater both for the families of those affected and staff.

“I know that the parents group have been very active in contacting our local TDs and making them aware of the situation,” he said.

“We are obliged to run a safe service and that is what we have done by putting these resources in place.”

In response, the HSE refrained from going into what may or may not result from its talks with St Christopher’s management.

A statement released to the Leader yesterday (Tuesday) did appear to indicate however that progress was being made in solving the Longford service provider’s deficit.

“St Christopher’s Services in Longford deliver services on behalf of the HSE,” outlined the statement.

Like all voluntary providers, St Christopher’s are responsible for the management of their resources within their allocated funding.

“The HSE have been working with the Board of Directors of St Christopher’s Services, Longford to address their funding concerns.

A number of measures to reduce their funding deficit have been proposed and meetings are ongoing in this regard.

“The HSE will continue to work with St Christopher’s and assist them in finding efficiencies within their service.”