Sunday 24 September 2017

Troubled children at risk due to shortage of psychiatric staff, Dáil told

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
John Downing

John Downing

Eleven children in acute psychiatric services at a special unit face being sent home by the end of this week because of a staffing crisis, Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, has told the Dáil.

Mr Martin said a huge staffing crisis now risked halving the number of beds available for young people with serious psychiatric problems. He said some of these young children were at risk of suicide and he cited the case of a suicidal young boy being given anti-depressants and then sent home.

The Fianna Fáil leader said 11 of the 22 beds at the Linn Dara unit of Cherry Orchard Hospital in Dublin faced closure by Friday.  Many of the patients involved in this unit were deemed to be “high risk” cases.

“Parents say to us: ‘Whare are they to go?’” Mr Martin said.

Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, supported Mr Martin’s statement. He added that changes would see the number of available child psychiatric beds halved nationally to just 52. He also cited problems with the services in his own Louth constituency.

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, said efforts were currently being undertaken to keep the beds open at Linn Dara. “This is not a case about a shortage of money – it is about a shortage of staff,” Mr Kenny said.

Mr Kenny added that the funding for psychiatric services was being increased and extra staff were being recruited.

Online Editors

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