“I am disgusted with how these three adolescents are being treated by the HSE, and it cannot go on any longer,” said Deputy Jackie Cahill after finding out that three young people are stuck in the paediatric ward at South Tipp General Hospital waiting to be transferred to a unit in Cork.

“At present, three of the six paediatric beds at STGH are being filled by adolescents in need of acute psychiatric care.

“One patient has been in the hospital since the first week of February. It’s now the first week of April – eight weeks have passed and that patient’s family are at their wits end.

“This is all happening as the general public have been asked to stay away from the Emergency Department at the hospital due to chronic overcrowding.

“The reason for the delay is clear- The adolescent psychiatric unit at CUH is under staffed and cannot take any more patients.

“It’s wholly unfair on these three patients, their families and the staff at the Paediatric Unit at STGH to be left in this situation.

“First of all, three beds that are needed for other paediatric patients are being used, and the staff are not trained to deal with the acute psychiatric issues these patients are suffering from.

“One patient is under constant 24 hour suicide watch. They need to get the psychiatric treatment they desperately require at the appropriate unit at CUH.

“The Government must start providing locally based psychiatric services in Tipperary. Adults are either sent to Kilkenny or Ennis, and children and adolescents are sent to Cork, but they don’t have the capacity to deal with the volumes involved.

“Minister Harris needs to intervene. It’s not a safe situation and I am calling for the HSE and the Government to wake up to the crisis in psychiatric services in this country,” concluded Cahill.