Mental health staff shortage, only start of health crisis– Naughten

In Health by Denis Naughten

HSE embargo on recruitment, is now reaching a critical stage at Co. Hospital

Nursing & care staff shortages across the health services in County Roscommon will create a crisis in the delivery of services in the coming months, unless urgent action is taken, claims Denis Naughten.

“This week we have reports of the critical situation in the mental health services due to nursing and staff shortages, which could see services closing at a time when there are increasing demands due to the pressures on individuals and families as a result of the recession,” explained Denis Naughten.

Denis Naughten was speaking after raising the issue of the threatened closure of some of the Roscommon mental health services in the Dáil earlier today.

“A similar situation could also happen with our long stay hospitals like the Sacred Heart Hospital, Áras Mathair Phol & the Plunkett Home, with ward closures or even the complete closure of one unit, unless nursing & critical care staff posts is filled.

“Even within Roscommon County Hospital, posts which are vacant and cannot be filled due to the HSE embargo on recruitment, is now reaching a critical stage. This situation is unacceptable, especially considering that nursing is the only health profession which has a complete ban on recruitment.”

He continued: “How can the Government expect to run health services without frontline care staff and professional nurses? And sadly this policy will again see our newly qualified nurses graduating next year with their registration papers in one hand and an airline ticket in the other.

“For the last number of years, the Minister for Health and the HSE went all over the world trying to get nurses & other care staff to come here to take up vacant jobs and now we are putting our own people on planes out of the country. So much for planning.”

Dail Eireann
15 th December 2010
I am seeking the adjournment of Dáil Éireann under standing order 32 to discuss a matter of urgent national importance namely in light of the threat of imminent closure of the acute psychiatric unit at Roscommon County Hospital, the high dependency unit in Castlerea or mental health day centres throughout County Roscommon, as a result of front line staffing shortages, which will have a dramatic impact on the provision of health services throughout County Roscommon, there is an immediate need for the Government and Minister for Health to lift the blanket ban on the recruitment of nursing and frontline support staff in order to maintain the day to day operation of vital health services throughout the Country.