A MAJOR hospital will not set up a unit to assess severely mentally ill patients outside its emergency department despite the resignation of a top doctor over the issue, writes Anne-Marie Walsh.
Beaumont Hospital said it was drawing up plans to offer on-call services for patients in its emergency department after 8pm and at weekends.
However, it has no plans to follow the advice of clinical director Professor Shane O'Neill and set up an assessment unit away from the busy A&E department.
Mr O'Neill resigned last Friday from his role as clinical director after complaining that acutely mentally ill patients should not be assessed in the emergency department. The consultant wants an acute assessment area to be located in a new acute psychiatric unit, called the Ashlin Unit, which is due to open next week.
In a statement, Beaumont Hospital said plans being discussed with the HSE were under way to have out-of-hours and weekend assessments for the Ashlin Centre carried out at its emergency department.
It said this would be done with the assistance of "additional resources".
General secretary of the Psychiatric Nurses' Association, Des Kavanagh, said Mr O'Neill should be admired for standing up for his principles.
And Fianna Fail health spokesperson Billy Kelleher said the resignation of the clinical director must be a wake-up call for Health Minister James Reilly.