Beds cut from new Galway mental health unit before it even opens - Pat Buckley TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health and Suicide, Pat Buckley TD, has slammed the governments failure to reach agreement with the Psychiatric Nurses Association, who are demanding that a new mental health unit set to open in Galway has a full complement of 50 beds.
The union maintain that the government is breaking its commitment by cutting 5 beds from the units before it even opens having closed a 22 bed unit in Ballinasloe 4 years ago.
Deputy Buckley said;
"Again the government are showing that their budget targets matter more than providing a quality mental health service.
"It is already completely unacceptable that 4 years on the beds closed at Ballinasloe have not been replaced.
"The new unit was set to provide 50 new acute beds which are drastically needed but the government have sought to reduce this number by 5 even before the unit opens.
"I stand completely behind the nurses who are opposing this decision through their union. If the government are allowed to break a commitment like this then it sets a very poor precedent for the continuation of the service over all.
"The west of Ireland has serious gaps in mental health service as does the rest of the country.
"Despite the best efforts of the people working on the ground huge sums have been returned to the exchequer over the last few years because the new services needed are not being developed at all.
"I believe that this is intentional by the government so that they can announce funding increases at the budget time but recoup that money later due to the failure to develop the services which the money was for.
"The end result is that patients suffer, nurses and doctors work harder with less, and the government can pretend that they are funding mental health services.
"This playing politics with mental health services has to end, and end now. The government must commit to delivering the agreed 50 beds and anything less is clear signal that mental health services is not something they care about."