Thursday 5 December 2019

Staples recalls time at UHW Psychiatric ward

Councillor Frank Staples
Councillor Frank Staples

Simon Bourke at Wexford Co Council monthly meeting

Councillor Frank Staples has shared some of the memories of his seven-week stay in the Psychiatric Unit of University Hospital Waterford (UHW) during an emotional speech at a meeting of Wexford County Council.

Responding to a motion tabled by Cllr Michael Sheehan, in which the Cathaoirleach called on Minister Simon Harris to apologise to staff, patients and families affected by conditions in the Unit, Cllr Staples recounted the well-documented mental health issues which led to him being admitted to the UHW's Psychiatric Unit last year.

'There's no room in those wards, no room for staff, there's eight patients in a ward, all with different mental health issues. When you walk into it the ceilings get lower, you know you're going somewhere nobody else wants to go.

Some of my family were absolutely strressed out going into it. Its inhumane, disgraceful,' said Cllr Staples.

'I knew myself I wanted to be somewhere and when I got down there I was happy I was in it. For the first few weeks I didn't really mind it but when I started to get better I absolutely hated it there.'

Yet despite sub-standard conditions in the Unit Cllr Staples said people in Wexford should not hesitate to avail of this service if they feel it's needed.

'I would say to any family if you need to go Waterford don't be put off by what you're hearing. My wife said Waterford saved my life. If you feel you need to be there, don't stay out of it.'

The Cathaoirleach's motion also requested the Council call on the HSE to 'make resources available to ensure age appropriate accommodation and beds for patients in the area'.

This led to Councillor Willie Kavanagh suggesting the reintroduction of a specialised Mental Health Committee to campaign for a 10-bed Unit in Wexford Hospital.

Cllr Davy Hynes meanwhile hoped the issue wouldn't be used as a political football by those hoping to gain a seat in next year's general election.

'I heard, once again, that Minister Paul Kehoe said he was looking for a unit, a ten bed unit, at Wexford Hospital.

But I remember the same thing being said at the last general election, I would hope whoever gets in would make this a priority, not just a nice handy one to try and get elected,' said Cllr Hynes.

Wexford People

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