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Cuts and privatisation preventing progress on mental health – Ó Caoláin

29 May, 2008

Commenting on the Report of the Mental Health Commission, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said it highlights the very serious situation where cuts imposed by the HSE are affecting mental health services. He said privatisation was also preventing progress in the neglected area of mental health.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "This is the first major report from a statutory body to state clearly that since they were imposed last autumn the HSE cuts are affecting patient care. It is alarming that the recruitment embargo has led to an acute shortage of key mental health staff, including occupational therapists and social workers. It must be remembered that these cuts are being imposed on mental health services that are already sub-standard, having been one of the most neglected areas of our health services.

"In my own constituency the Commission has raised concerns about St. Davnet's, Monaghan. St. Ita's in Portrane is also one of the six hospitals that the Commission finds of special concern.

"It should be noted that since Beaumont Hospital was built in Dublin in 1987 a new psychiatric unit there, to replace St. Ita's, has been promised. This was finally on stream until Health Minister Harney brought in her notorious public-private hospital co-location scheme. The private hospital for Beaumont is to be built on the site allocated for the psychiatric unit which has been put on the long finger yet again.

"Cuts and privatisation are thwarting the progress promised when the Mental Health Act was enacted in 2001. This report is an indictment of Minister Harney and her government colleagues." ENDS

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