Saturday 20 January 2018

Acute mental health unit needed as patients 'abandoned'

Wexford mental health patients and their families are being treated inhumanely under the current system, the meeting heard.

In a motion Cllr Anthony Kelly called for a letter to be written to the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar calling for funds to be made available to establish a 24/7 adequately staffed acute mental health assessment unit in Wexford.

'Political will is needed to get this and we need to have the right environment for patients,' he said.

Cllr Fergie Kehoe agreed, saying a unit dedicated to mental health patients is needed urgently in the county, pointing out that many of the deaths he encounters as an inquest jury foreman involve people who have taken their own life and who have sought mental health treatment in the period prior to their deaths.

Cllr Keith Doyle said the HSE carried out a review of mental health services in the South East and decided to have a unit at University Hospital Waterford (UHW), when the facility wasn't adequately prepared for patients arriving from Wexford. He said the mental service means patients are 'detached' from their families when they most need them by being treated up to one and a half hours away in Waterford.

'Often family members have to get there by bus.'

Cllr Deirdre Wadding said the county's suicide rate is double the national average, adding that this raises many questions.

Cllr Ger Carthy said while on ambulance duty recently it took emergency services six hours to transfer a patient to UHW. This involved Gardaí, ambulances and emergency personnel.

'There are a lot of resource issues here. We do not want a copy and paste reply this time. This is a real and this is an election issue. It's time now that we, as the main lobby group for the county, that we deliver and acute ward for mental health at Wexford General Hospital.'

Council chairman Tony Dempsey said there were calls for a mental heath unit in Wexford in 2004. Cllr Johnny Mythen said hospital staff with no psychiatric training are dealing with mental health patients. The motion was unanimously supported.

Wexford People

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