REDUCING WATERFORD ACUTE PSYCHIATRIC UNIT TO ONLY 6 BEDS WOULD BE UNACCEPTABLE

Issued 17 February 2017

The proposal to reduce the current 14 bed Acute Psychiatric Unit in Waterford Regional Hospital to only six beds is unacceptable Labour leader Brendan Howlin has today said.

Having had sight of a decision of the Mental Health Commission concerning the future of the Acute Psychiatric Unit servicing Counties Wexford and Waterford, Deputy Howlin said that “the impact on patients in the region will be enormous”.

"In 2010 following a closure order from the Mental Health Commission, St. Senan’s Psychiatric Unit, Enniscorthy, ceased operation. The service was transferred to a 14 bed Acute Unit in Waterford University Hospital and a sub-acute Unit there of 30 beds.

"Considerable concern has been voiced that the 14 bed Acute Unit which services all of County Waterford and much of County Wexford is wholly inadequate.

"After initially proposing to refuse to register the Waterford Unit as an approved centre, in effect shutting it down, the Mental Health Commission has now decided to reduce the maximum number of acute patients from 14 to six.

"The already inadequate acute facilities where according to the Mental Health Commission “serious concerns remain as to the safety, health and wellbeing of residents”, are now to be further drastically reduced.

"It is understood that the HSE has until the 24th February (next Friday) to make further submissions to the Mental Health Commission.

"As of now the reduction in capacity with consequent implications for all psychiatric service users in Counties Waterford and Wexford will become operable on Wednesday 1st March, 2017.

“This situation is entirely unacceptable to the people of both counties who demand immediate provision of appropriate psychiatric services for this region” Deputy Howlin said.