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Practice of placing children on adult psychiatric wards must end now – Buckley

4 May, 2017 - by Pat Buckley TD

Sinn Féin deputy Mental Health spokesperson Pat Buckley TD has called for an end to the practice of placing children on adult mental health units following the news that a 16 year old spent a night last week in a chair of the Adult Acute Unit in Waterford. The use of adult units for children in mental health difficulty was described by the Inspector of Mental Health Services as “inexcusable”.

Deputy Buckley said:

“Last week, a 16 year old child spent hours in a chair in an acute adult mental health unit in Waterford. This is just another in a long list of very worrying and unacceptable admissions of children to inappropriate wards due to a failure of the system to provide services where and as needed.

“As anyone who has visited or worked on an acute adult ward is can be a chaotic place. Especially given the fact that this unit was over capacity last night and the child was not able to be accommodated with a bed in a separate room but had to settle for a chair for the night.

“No child should be admitted to an adult unit. This is a failing of the Government to ensure accessible widespread access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and community supports. Just recently in my own county of Cork, CAMHS had to be suspended due to a staff shortage.

“I want to commend the Psychiatric Nurses Association for bringing this unacceptable situation to the public again. These workers too are being let down by a government which is happy to leave nurses and carers to clean up their mess due to chronic under funding and under staffing.” 

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