Mayo Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary has said he is ‘shocked and appalled’ at the news that two psychiatric units in Co Mayo are due to be shut in two months time.


Teach Aisling, a purpose-built 10 bed stand-alone unit in Castlebar for male and female residents, and the Ballina Psychiatric Unit based at the District Hospital, which provides outreach services and respite facilities for 60 clients, have been earmarked for closure under HSE cost-cutting plans announced last week.


“This is an extremely short-sighted decision that will have a severe impact on the provision of mental health services in Mayo,” said Deputy Calleary.


“The Ballina Psychiatric Unit, with 10 nurses attached, is a lifeline to many people in the community, providing day-care, outreach services and respite services. Teach Aisling in Castlebar is a 10 bed facility which was purpose build and opened just 9 years ago.


“Referrals for both units come from community and in-patient care. The HSE is now proposing to move both services to St. Teresa’s in Castlebar. This will create huge problems. In terms of space alone, it is just not feasible to provide the same level of service currently in place. St. Teresa’s simply does not have the capacity required to cope safely and comfortably with the increased numbers attending the facility as a result of this decision.


“The HSE has completely failed to take into account the views of the service users, many of whom are long-term residents of these units. They also appear to have ignored the views of the clinicians, including GPs, in the region.


“This decision flies in the face of the Government’s vision for change document. I am calling on the Minister for Health James Reilly to intervene without delay to explain to patients and their families why this decision has been made and how it will effect them,” concluded Deputy Calleary.