Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Disability, Mental Health and Special Needs, Colm Keaveney TD, will be raising a special debate in the Dáil this afternoon on the latest controversy surrounding the closure of St Brigid’s Mental Health Unit in Ballinasloe.
It follows revelations that two patients from east Galway in need of psychiatric treatment, who would previously have been sent to St Brigid’s, were instead left on trolleys in the busy A&E Department of University Hospital Galway.
“This is an extremely worrying development that confirms my worst fears about the closure of St. Brigid’s Hospital. The Government cannot continue to ignore the fact that the decision to close St Brigid’s is exposing patients to unnecessary risk. I will be seeking answers from the Government in the Dáil this afternoon given the serious impact this is having on our health services in Co Galway,” said Deputy Keaveney.
“These two patients needed psychiatric assessment and specialised care. The hectic A&E Department of at Galway University Hospital, which is already under immense pressure, was simply not the place for them. It is totally inappropriate that patients with serious mental health problems would be left in waiting for hours on a trolley in a busy emergency department.
“UHG is already picking up the slack from the downgrading of Roscommon hospital more than two years ago, and from the closure of community hospital beds across this region over the past two years. The bottom line is that UHG simply does not have the capacity, or specialised facilities, to deal with the emergency psychiatric cases that have until now been dealt with in Ballinasloe. Not only does it set a dangerous precedent in the treatment of patients with mental health difficulties, it is deeply unfair on the other patients and staff at UHG,” said Deputy Keaveney.
Deputy Keaveney will raise a Topical Issues Debate on the matter in the Dáil this afternoon (Wednesday, 12 February). It’s scheduled to take place at approximately 1.10pm. To watch or record a live feed go to: www.dail.tv.