independent

Saturday 23 August 2014

Psychiatric nurses challenge Labour

Cillian Walsh

Published 04/12/2013 | 05:36

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MEMBERS of the Psychiatric Nurses' Association challenged delegates at last weekend's Labour party conference in Killarney over the current lack of mental health services in Kerry and asked that the issue be brought to the floor when the members met.

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MEMBERS of the Psychiatric Nurses' Association challenged delegates at last weekend's Labour party conference in Killarney over the current lack of mental health services in Kerry and asked that the issue be brought to the floor when the members met.

Kerry has one of the highest suicide rates in the country and the Kerry branch of the PNA called on the party to provide better mental health facilities in the county.

"Kerry does not as yet have a single fully staffed, resourced and functioning Community Mental Health Team in place. And with a population of 146,000, Kerry should have up to 12 teams serving various population groups throughout the county," PNA Kerry Branch Organiser Cormac Williams said.

However, the PNA got a "good response" when speaking to members of the party outside the conference and "many of them said they fully realised the changes didn't happen," Mr Williams added.

The "changes" refer to the 2006 'Vision for Change' report where it was recommended that a minimum spend of 8.5 per cent of the national health budget be spent on mental health services nationwide.

"Seven years later this promise remains unfulfilled in Kerry," said Mr Williams. "Spending on mental health has actually decreased over this time and it will be the whipping boy in the next budget."

The PNA claim that in many instances much of the money that was aside to help develop community mental health teams in recent years was not spent for this purpose but diverted to other areas of the health service. "We do not know if the issue of mental health facilities in Kerry was raised at the conference as we were not allowed in. We only watched on from outside on the street," added Mr Willams.

Kerryman

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