Minister has no answers to Roscommon Psychiatry crisis – Naughten

In Health, West-Roscommon by Denis Naughten

Local TD Denis Naughten has stated that he is “deeply disappointed” by the failure of the Health Minister, Leo Varadkar, to answer a single question on the crisis in the mental health services in County Roscommon.

During a specific Dail debate on the mental health services in County Galway & County Roscommon, the Minister failed to provide any answer to specific questions on the future of the Rosalie Unit, Castlerea; the operation of the high support hostel at Knockroe, Castlerea; or staffing issues at the acute psychatric unit, at Roscommon County Hospital.

While the Minister spoke of the need for a “patient centred approach to the delivery of mental health services” he failed to give any assurance on the future of the Rosalie Unit, which accommodates people with psychiatry of older life issues. “In fact he never even commented on the fact that nearly 2 months after the story regarding the threat to the unit first broke neither patients, their families nor the staff involved has been informed of what is actually happening,” stated Denis Naughten.

“This is despite very serious concerns being raised publicly by the Psychiatric Nurses Organisation, relating to the operation of the high support hostel at Knockroe, Castlerea, with claims that very serious allegations of misconduct in relation to a male patient have not been properly investigated by the mental health services or properly reported to the Gardai.

“Yet, the Minister was not prepared to comment on this or ensure that this issue will be independently investigated and an independent report produced.”

Denis Naughten added: “On the issue of the staffing of the acute psychatric unit at Roscommon County Hospital, where staff have similar concerns to those which led to industrial action by their colleagues in Galway, earlier this week (Wednesday), the Minister was not prepared to clarify if these issues will also be addressed by the Labour Relations Commission.

“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 and 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.