People Before Profit TD, Brid Smith, has attacked the planned closure of beds at the Child and Adolescent Inpatient Mental Health services at Cherry Orchard Hospital in Ballyfermot.
The TD who represents the local catchment area around the Hospital said the closure of 50% of the 22 beds due to a shortage of nurses demonstrates the crisis in both mental health services and the wider National Health Service.
Brid Smith said: “I am outraged that at a time when the body politic is obsessed with the Leo vs Simon side show that the Governments in which both are members has over seen such a dramatic attack on the most vulnerable sections of our society. That is the real newsworthy issue. This weekend alone two local young women took their lives, yet amidst all the fanfare about Leo and Simon the reality of Ireland in 2017 is that we still only have 63 beds operational out of 100 promised nationally for CAMHS”
The TD also said this closure was directly linked to the upcoming public sector pay talks and the inability of the Government to recruit and retain nurses.
Ms Smith said: “This Government has spent so much time and effort attacking public sector workers and driving down pay and conditions. This is the bitter fruit of those attacks; a health service in crisis that can’t staff beds for children and adolescents with mental health difficulties.
“The program for a partnership government commits to extending counselling services in primary care to people on low incomes. What they intend to do here is the exact opposite of that. What will end up happening is children will be forced into the adult mental health wards, which is totally inappropriate.
“We need to reverse the attacks on all public sector workers and pay our nurses a decent wage. Only then will we recruit and retain mental health staff so we can open more wards to care for people. The mental health budget needs to be brought up to the European average. Ireland is lagging far behind in comparison to other European countries where we only spend 6% of the health budget on mental health.
“Staffing levels in child and adolescent mental health services are 48% below recommended levels, while across the mental health services staffing is 21% lower than recommended” noted the TD.
The TD demanded that Simon Harris commit to funding the facility and keeping the beds open.
Press Release- Bríd Smith TD