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Mental Health Services face closure due to understaffing - Buckley

22 May, 2017 - by Pat Buckley TD

Sinn Féin Mental Health spokesperson Pat Buckley TD has described as scandalous the risk posed to local mental health services by short staffing of nurses. Responding to news that the Linn Dara Child and Adolescent Unit at Cherry Orchard Hospital is set to close half of its beds due to 50% of nurses posts remaining vacant, the Cork East TD said a renewed focus had to be given to filling vacant positions and treating nursing staff properly.

Deputy Buckley said;

"This 22 bed service for young people is an absolutely essential part of the mental health services in Dublin. We have only recently had stories of children being placed in over crowded adult wards without even a bed. The idea that we will have less beds for young people in mental health distress is shocking and unacceptable.

“At present there are only 63 CAMHS beds in the state, well below the 100 promised in the Vision for Change strategy, now 11 years old. The loss of nearly a fifth of those beds, right in he capital would be devastating and have real and tragic consequences.

“This situation puts children with mental health issues at serious and immediate risk.

“Sinn Féin stands squarely with the nurses and their representatives in identifying the key issue which has cause this situation. Nurses cannot be expected to take up posts which are poorly paid, with bad conditions on top of that. A mental health nurse's starting is well below that of other professionals in the field but they are on the frontline and essential to the continuation of even the most basic service.

“The Minister for Health Simon Harris has talked about a pathway to 24/7 services but they have refused to provide the funding to make this a reality. A paltry €15 million was provided in additional funding for 2017. This is not enough to allow he services to stand still. The Minister must face up to this crisis and begin to fight at cabinet for the funding needed to save services and provide better conditions for nurses and the people who depend on their care."

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