Local TD, Denis Naughten has stated that “the current crisis at the acute psychiatric unit at University Hospital, Galway is as a direct result of the closure of St. Luke’s acute unit in Ballinasloe and the decision to send back €6m in funding at the end of last year”.
Speaking in the Dail this week, Denis Naughten pointed out that the current problems in both the mental health services in Roscommon & Galway have been compounded by the closure of the acute psychiatric unit at St. Luke’s in Ballinasloe has been closed, adding to the pressures already on the units in Galway and Roscommon.
Addressing Minister Leo Varadkar, the local TD, said “in the Ballinasloe catchment area, within the past three weeks, 14 patients have been referred to the acute psychiatric unit in Roscommon, putting considerable pressure on the acute unit in Roscommon. On top of that, we are coming into the summer months where there is further demand on mental health services in Galway because of the dramatic increase in population in the Galway area during the summer”
Denis Naughten went on to say “an an interim measure, I would urge the Minister to re-open the acute unit at St. Luke’s in Ballinasloe to take pressure off both Galway and Roscommon acute psychiatric units”.
“It is also clear that there is an issue in relation to resourcing of the mental health services in Galway & Roscommon. What makes it even more bizarre is that last year, the mental health services in Roscommon and Galway handed back €6 million and this year their budget has been cut by a further €3.5 million”
“Disappointingly, the Minister for Health failed to address any of these issues during his response to a debate, which was specifically focused on mental health services in Roscommon & Galway”
“Not only is it crystal clear that this Minister has no interest in the issues directly affecting people within the mental health services in Roscommon & Galway, it is also clear that the failure to spend €6m on the services locally in 2014, is now having major implications for the day to day delivery of services to vulnerable people” concluded Denis Naughten