Intervention needed to stop closure of beds at children’s mental health unit - Mary Lou McDonald TD
Speaking this morning Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald has called on the Minister for Health and the Junior Mental Health Minister to intervene in order to stop the closure of beds at the Linn Dara Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service facility at Cherry Orchard Hospital.
Deputy McDonald said:
“Due to the staffing crisis in our Health Service the Linn Dara Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service facility is due to lose half its beds from Friday. Eleven of twenty-two beds will close at this facility which does extraordinary and life-saving work with young people with psychiatric disorders, who are struggling with their mental health, or are finding it hard to cope with everyday life.
“The situation at Linn Dara, where half the nursing posts are vacant, is a symptom of the broader crisis in the Health Service, and in particular the crisis of recruitment and retention of nurses because of poor planning, and in equal measure, the failures to address the issue of pay and conditions for nurses. In order to now deal with their abject failure to recruit and retain staff for the unit the HSE has decided to compromise the care and safety of those who may need the facility by closing fifty per cent of the unit’s inpatient capacity.
“In a broader context the government’s failure to those with mental health difficulties is evidenced in that the Vision for Change mental health strategy, published in 2006, outlined Ireland would need 100 inpatient mental health beds for child and adolescents to meet patient demand, the closure of these 11 beds now brings the national number of psychiatric beds for children and teenagers down to a derisory 52.
“I am calling on Minister Harris and Junior Minister McEntee to immediately intervene to ensure this unit does not see half its capacity lost and safeguard the lives of those young people who may need this facility.”