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€450k deficit facing St Christopher’s

Pat O'Toole, CEO of St Christopher's Services.

Pat O'Toole, CEO of St Christopher's Services.

Vital services at Longford community based provider St Christopher’s Services are in danger of being slashed as it faces a massive €450,000 financial deficit.

The ‘Leader’ has learned the situation has become so grave that senior management have called for a meeting with HSE chiefs to address the six figure shortfall.

“Since 2008, we would have seen over €700,000 taken out of our budget,” revealed St Christopher’s Chief Executive Officer Pat O’Toole.

“Eventually the pigeons come home to roost.”

One of the county’s longest and most treasured local facilities, St Christopher’s has for the past five decades provided a comprehensive as well as innovative service to people with intellectual difficulties.

Mr O’Toole said one of the main reasons for its continued financial hardship has been as a result of the fluctuating and growing needs of its service users.

“We would have around 13 or 14 cases where people’s needs have changed expeditiously,” he said. “Most of these people are either wheelchair bound or bed bound, meaning that we have had to respond in terms of our staffing.

“It’s a labour intensive area and we simply have had no choice in that matter.”

Mr O’Toole, who is a Fianna Fail county councillor has held talks with Area Manager Joe Ruane and Disability Manager Maura Morgan over the the issue.

He hopes those discussions will pave the way for a meeting with the HSE’s National Director of Social Care, Pat Healy.

“We would be receptive of any external person to come and carry out an assessment of staffing requirements,” he said, while hinting that the situation warranted political intervention.

The HSE, despite attempts being made, failed to issue a response at the time of going to press.

 

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