A CAREER in the management of mental health services in the southeast concluded this week with the retirement of a HSE official.
Kilkenny man David Heffernan started off in the health board in St Dympna’s Hospital, Carlow as a workshop manager in the 1990S.
As head of service/mental health of South East Community Healthcare since June 2019, David Heffernan has been centrally involved in the HSE response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In that time, David worked with colleagues across the mental health services to safely maintain inpatient, residential and community mental health services in a challenging environment.
Since taking a senior management role eight years ago, David Heffernan has been responsible for overseeing continued development of mental health services locally and regionally, whilst also addressing many of the challenges presented to the services.
In particular, David Heffernan has always been committed to the development of a recovery focused mental health service and has been instrumental in ensuring that service user involvement is central to the provision of mental health services in the South East.
David’s experience of working closely with patients, their families and various complements of mental health staff was drawn on when he took up the role in 2014 as the HSE’s Service Manager for mental health services in the Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary area.
Shortly after the establishment of the South East Community Healthcare organisation, David became a General Manager in its mental health services in 2016 and three years later was appointed as Head of Service for mental health services across counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford.
As he retires this week, David Heffernan says it has been “a privilege from day one” to help those in need of mental health support across community, residential support and inpatient settings.
David also paid tribute to the diligent cohorts of mental health staff colleagues, for whom patient care remains a priority throughout all the components of service delivery.