Mentally ill teenager left on A&E trolley for three days
A CHILD suffering serious mental illness was forced to lie on a trolley in the A&E of a busy acute hospital for three days, an inspector's report has revealed.
The 15-year-old is among a growing number of very ill youngsters who cannot be admitted to child and adolescent psychiatric units because of a lack of beds.
A series of damning reports from the Mental Health Commission has revealed some of these psychiatric units for young people have waiting lists of up to six months.
The plight of the teenager at Waterford Regional Hospital was revealed during an inspection by a mental health team for children and adolescents.
The county has no in-patient children's unit and the nearest is the Eist Linn centre in Cork.
The inspectors warned: "Access to in-patient care was described as difficult. There was a long waiting list for a bed in Eist Linn.
"It was also stated that it was difficult to source a bed through the national weekly child and adolescent bed co-ordination teleconference."
They expressed particular concern about the lack of access to emergency beds for children and adolescents.
Only 12 of the 20 beds in Eist Linn were open at the time of inspection and several jobs for specialists were not filled. On the day of inspection 15 children were on a waiting list.
The report revealed:
• An inspection of the East Limerick mental health team for children and adolescents found they were located in rented premises in the centre of Limerick city. It was not suitable for young people and was not family friendly.
• Access to acute in-patient and crisis beds was difficult and the average delay was three months although at the time of inspections children were on a waiting list for six months.
• Inspectors of Linn Dara in Dublin mid-Leinster expressed concern that no documentation was available on an "intrusive search" of one young resident although it later turned up in a clinical file.
• The south Kildare team had a waiting list of 47.
Inspectors were also critical of some of the adult units which they visited, including the acute psychiatric unit in Ennis hospital, Co Clare.