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People seeking mental health care spent night in chair at hospital – Buckley

13 October, 2017 - by Pat Buckley TD

Sinn Féin deputy Mental Health spokesperson Pat Buckley TD has condemned as “utterly unacceptable and damning” the news that two adult admissions to mental health services in Waterford had to spend the night on chairs in the acute unit because no beds were available. He was responding to reports from the Psychiatric Nurses Association who described the situation as highlighting “the lack of adequate community mental health services”.

Deputy Buckley said:

“In the same week of a Budget where the government misled the public on Mental Health funding, releasing a paltry €15 million in additional funding, this news really highlights the problems our mental health services face. The staff of University Hospital Waterford have no capacity to deal with the demand on their services and tragically these two people have been left in a very unfortunate and unhelpful position which no doubt has hurt their process of recovery and discouraged others from seeking essential care.

“Just last May, we had a similar incident where a child spent a night on a chair at the Waterford Adult Mental Health Unit. After this, assurances were made that this would not be allowed to happen again but management clearly can only do so much with the limited resources on hand. I raised the issue in the Dáil then but received no comment from the Minister at the time.

“This situation is a direct result of the chronic and long running under funding of mental health services particularly community based services which are essential in avoiding the need for a high rate of in-patient admissions.

“The lack of a 24/7 crisis intervention service, huge primary care waiting lists and short staffing are down to government policy. We have the plan for reform Vision for Change which would help greatly but we have not received in any year the funding to see it implemented. As yet, only a fraction of the recommendations have been realised.

“This case highlights the immediate need for major investment and I am again calling on the Minister to review his spending commitment and increase this year’s funding to a minimum of 35 million euro in addition to the 20 million euro announced in Budget 2017.” 

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