Psychiatric nurses warn of 'endemic' problems at Roscommon County Hospital

Wednesday 19 June 2013 23.38
The PNA said problems at Roscommon County Hospital are 'endemic'
The PNA said problems at Roscommon County Hospital are 'endemic'

The Psychiatric Nurses Association has said Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health Kathleen Lynch should intervene urgently to improve psychiatric services in Roscommon.

The PNA has said the acute psychiatric service at Roscommon County Hospital is in freefall with recent reports of several very disturbing incidents.

Admissions to the unit were suspended last weekend.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, PNA National Secretary Noel Giblin described the problems in Roscommon as "endemic" and said Ms Lynch needs to look at management services and staffing levels as soon as possible.

Mr Giblin said the pressure on the psychiatric unit at Roscommon stemmed back to the closure of secure services, specifically the closure of St Luke's Ward in Ballinasloe.

He said the unit at Roscommon does not have the required level of staff to deal with patients and things were going wrong as a result.

He called on the minister to specifically address staffing numbers.

Mr Giblin described the facility at Roscommon as "unsafe" and said it was "very concerning" that there is currently no secure care unit in Galway or Roscommon.

"Patients who need a psychiatric service that is forensic in nature or highly secure - that is not available and that is very concerning," he said.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil the Roscommon unit has experienced a high level of sick leave amongst staff in recent weeks and to compensate acute psychiatric services are being run across Galway and Roscommon.

He said no patient is being turned away from Roscommon and they are being seen by a psychiatrist who will assess their needs.

Mr Kenny was speaking in response to comments from Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, who said the crisis was exacerbated by Government's cutbacks.