Mental Health Reform, the national coalition on mental health, is today reacting with concern to the imminent closure of the Sub-Acute Unit at St James’s Hospital Psychiatric Unit.
According to the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA), the closure of the Sub-Acute Unit at St James’s Hospital Psychiatric Unit will leave just 22 acute admissions beds for the entire catchment area of West Dublin.
This imminent closure of the unit comes just three months after the closure of 11 beds in Linn Dara Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) unit, Cherry Orchard, Dublin. These beds were due to re-open in September, but the PNA has stated that a further seven nurses are due to leave Linn Dara in the coming months which will potentially jeopardise the bed reopening.
Róisín Clarke, Interim CEO, Mental Health Reform said: “We have serious concerns about the closure of beds in St James’s Hospital Psychiatric Unit in West Dublin.
The reduction in beds will mean that people with complex mental health difficulties will face increasing challenges in accessing appropriate mental health care.
Over the tough winter months ahead, when access to mental health services can become even more difficult for people, we believe that a lack of beds could have devastating consequences for individuals who are in need of urgent intervention.
Earlier this year, we called on the Government to take action in response to the closure of 11 inpatient beds in Linn Dara Child and Adolescent Mental Health unit at Cherry Orchard Hospital. It is deeply disappointing to hear that further staffing issues could delay the reopening of these beds.
With just days left until the Budget announcement, we need a clear commitment from the Government to prioritise funding for mental health services and address the recruitment and retention crisis in the mental health system.
The HSE must prioritise workforce planning and ensure that funding already provided for recruitment is ring-fenced and not reallocated elsewhere.
It is important to recognise that staffing issues cannot be addressed by the Department of Health and the HSE alone. The Government must ensure a cross-department response to identify solutions and encourage the recruitment and retention of staff across the mental health services.”