Sunday 22nd May 2022: The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) has today (Sunday) strongly condemned the closure 11 of the 23 beds in the Linn Dara, Child and Adolescent Mental Health unit, Cherry Orchard, Dublin. The HSE has confirmed they will remain closed until September at least as a result of staff shortages.
PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes said it was inexplicable how the HSE has allowed the beds at Linn Dara to close in the light of the ongoing and worsening crisis in the provision of CAMHS services nationally. He called on the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly to ensure that resources are put in place to ensure that these beds are re-opened as a matter of urgency.’
‘Linn Dara Day plays a vitally important role in the provision of child and adolescent mental health services in the greater Dublin region. A similar decision to close beds in this unit was made in 2017 and was met by widespread shock and opposition. It now appears that five years on that nothing has been learned and we find ourselves in the same position again.’
‘We really have to ask what it takes for the HSE, to realise the extent of the CAMHS crisis in the country when they can embark on the removal of these 11 beds from the system.’
‘The HSE says the reason for this decision is nursing shortages. The nursing complement for the in-patient unit is 51, however, at present, there are only 24 nurses employed for the unit - a shortage of 27 nurses.’
Mr Hughes said one of the effects of the receding of COVID-19 is the opening of international borders for our recent nursing graduates to emigrate once again. This is causing a recruitment and retention crisis and particularly in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). At the same time the demand for CAMHS has dramatically increased post Covid and it is inexplicable that at a time of an ever-increasing demand for services that the service provision is being so drastically diminished by the proposed move in Linn Dara.
‘While PNA recognise the ongoing difficulty in the recruitment of nurses the response of the Government and HSE cannot be to simply reduce services. The situation at Linn Dara is one more graphic illustration of the crisis in the recruitment and retention of psychiatric nurses which is the direct result of poor HSE planning and HSE must now come forward to target solutions and incentives to encourage the recruitment and retention of nurses to adequately staff CAMHS services.’
‘This reduction in beds will further exacerbate an already unacceptable waiting list for CAMHS and will ultimately lead to an increase in the inappropriate admission of children and adolescents to adult mental health units. In fact, for the next four months there will only be 56 operational beds in CAMHS in the entire country, which is just over 50% of the 100 beds recommended in Vision for Change (2006.).’
Media Contact: Derek Cunningham 086-2430535