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Minister for Health must deliver on Psychiatric Services for Galway – Carthy

27 April, 2015 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Speaking after meeting with members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association in Galway on Friday, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Matt Carthy has said that the Minister for Health must deliver on the promises made in respect of mental health services for the region.

Carthy was accompanied at the meeting by Galway Senator Trevor Ò Clochartaigh and local Sinn Féin Councillor Anna Marley.

Carthy said:

“The closure of St Brigid’s acute psychiatric unit fifteen months ago has put huge pressure on the staff working in the acute psychiatric unit of University Hospital Galway.

“There has been a huge increase in “special” (one staff to one patient ) cases admitted to the psychiatric unit of University Hospital Galway, however there has not been a corresponding increase in staff. It is currently reported that there are 58 WTE's in the service however union officials have confirmed that there are, in fact, only 46 WTE.

“A mental health commission report also identified serious issues with the facilities available in the current unit and a report on an inspection carried out February has not been made available to staff despite several requests.

“Last year, the Minister for Health made a commitment that there would be an additional 44 permanent staff allocated to the Mental Health Service in Galway as well as a new 50 bed acute unit in Galway this year, yet this has not been delivered.

“There is a growing concern around patient and staff safety and a shortage of basic necessities such as alarms etc while it appears that €5.4 million was returned from the HSE area to the Department as an under-spend.

“There are also reports that staff who had planned Industrial Action last week were threatened with suspension while those who have spoken to the media about their concerns of the conditions in the unit have also been threatened with disciplinary action.

“It is clear, as the Government launches into the pre-election PR offensive starting with the Spring Statement tomorrow, that it does not want to be troubled with the reality that some of our most vulnerable people are being treated in dilapidated, under resourced facilities by overworked staff.

“This Government should not be talking about a give-away budget while our health system is ready to burst at the seams and is crying out for investment – instead it should make good on the commitments made and provide the resources required to safely treat patients.”

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