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No emergency departments currently meet minimum level of staffing for self-harm - Mark Ward TD

11 January, 2022 - by Mark Ward TD


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has called on the government to immediately resource the emergency departments in our hospitals with the appropriate resources for people presenting with self-harm.

A response to parliamentary questions submitted byTeachta Ward stated that 5432 people presented to 15 hospitals with incidents of self-harm in 2020 but no services currently meet the minimum level of liaison psychiatrists required.

Teachta Ward said:

“Liaison Psychiatry Services provide specialist medical expertise to manage conditions that occur in areas overlapping mental and physical healthcare, and is delivered in general or acute hospital settings.

“A key component of the work of the Liaison Psychiatry Team is to the emergency departments of their hospitals. This service is provided to people who present with self-harm.

“While Liaison Psychiatry Services are available in all acute hospitals in Ireland that have an emergency department, no services currently meet the minimum level of staffing as per A Vision for Change.

“There are insufficient resources that are leading to gaps in the service, and when there are gaps, vulnerable people tend to fall through them. This can be critical when it comes to people presenting with self-harm.

“Self-harm is regarded as an indicator of serious mental and emotional distress, and repeated episodes may indicate suicidality, so to see a continuing high rate of presentations to hospitals is very worrying.

“Preliminary figures released to me in response to a parliamentary question showed that 5432 people presented to 15 hospitals with incidents of self-harm in 2020.

“This was an average of 15 presentations a day to hospitals for self-harm.

“I do welcome that there is no significant increase in figures with 2018 and 2019 but 5432 people presenting in 2020 is of great concern.

“It is crucial to have appropriate mental health services available so that people can access the care they need when they need it and where they need it.

“The €24 million in new spending for mental health announced by the government does not go anywhere near far enough.”

Responses to Parliamentary Questions:

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