St. Luke’s Unit must be reopened to take pressure off service
Local TD, Denis Naughten has stated that “further industrial action 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 Dáil recently, 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, adding to the pressures already on the units at University Hospital Galway and Roscommon County Hospital.
Addressing Minister Leo Varadkar, the local TD, said “in the Ballinasloe catchment area, over the previous three weeks, 14 patients were referred to the acute psychiatric unit in Roscommon, putting considerable pressure on that unit. Furthermore, we are now coming into the summer months when further demand will be placed on mental health services in Galway because of the dramatic increase in population in the Galway area during the summer months”
Denis Naughten went on to say “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 this even more bizarre is that last year, the mental health services in Roscommon and Galway handed back €6 million and as a result the budget has been cut by a further €3.5 million this year”
“Disappointingly, since raising this with the Minister for Health, he has failed to address any of these issues and as a result, two weeks ago, I wrote directly to him, seeking a detailed response to the serious concerns which I have raised”
“Not only is it crystal clear that the 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
Copy of letter to Minister
13 May 2015
Dr Leo Varadkar TD, Minister for Health
Department of Health
Co Dublin 2
Dear Dr Varadkar,
Further to my contribution on Topical Issues of 22nd April last regarding the mental health services in Galway/Roscommon, to date I have not received any answer to the issues, which I legitimately raised.
(paragraph excluded for legal reasons )
I reiterate my call for an independent investigation into this very serious allegation, which is extremely concerning.
I was also disappointed that you failed to provide any clarity on the future role of the Rosalie Unit at Aras Naomh Chaolain, Castlerea. The local speculation has been in the public domain for the last 3 months and surely, the very least that the older residents of the unit & their families deserve to know what exactly is happening.
Is this too much to ask?
I would like to point out that the issues that have arisen in the Galway acute unit are the same issues that have arisen within the Roscommon acute unit. It is imperative that you ensure that any solution which is proposed to address the problems in Galway is also applied to the Roscommon unit.
Finally, as I suggested in my contribution, in light of the growing pressure on both acute units and in light of the number of referrals from within the catchment of St. Lukes acute unit, Creagh, Ballinasloe, this facility, the most modern and state-of-art unit in the Country, should be reopened to take pressure off both Roscommon & Galway.
I look forward to a comprehensive response to each of these matters.
Denis Naughten TD