Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher TD has said the resignation of the Clinical Director at Beaumont Hospital must be a wake-up call for the Minister for Health James Reilly.

Deputy Kelleher commented, “Professor Shane O’Neill has raised very grave concerns about the treatment of psychiatric patients at one of the largest acute hospitals in the country. The fact that he feels he had no option but to quit is evidence alone of gravity of the situation and the fact that these concerns have been ignored for far too long.

“The issues raised by Professor O’Neill are not news to Minister Reilly. A group of psychiatrists wrote to Minister Reilly and Minister of State Kathleen Lynch months ago to warn about the escalating crisis in psychiatric services in Dublin, with very ill patients being forced to wait in totally inappropriate surroundings without the care that they need, or forced to travel outside of Dublin because there were no beds available in the capital.

“Unfortunately it’s indicative of what’s happening right across our health services. The Government also ignored the warnings of senior psychiatrists in Galway about the impact of closing St Brigid’s Psychiatric Unit in Ballinasloe. As a result, we have seen a number of seriously ill psychiatric patients forced to wait overnight on trolleys at UHG’s emergency department.

“Professor O’Neill’s resignation must be a wake-up call for Ministers Reilly and Lynch. They cannot continue to ignore the escalating crisis in our mental health services, which is putting patients’ lives at risk.”