Thursday, 20th September 2018
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Green Party Senator for Waterford, Grace O'Sullivan, has said that, unless urgent action is taken, the mental health situation in the South East could cost lives.

Her comments were made following revelations that, following three consultant Psychiatrists in Waterford and Wexford resigning their positions, the South East region could be entirely without expert mental health care from mid-July.

Speaking in the Seanad, Senator O'Sullivan said: "This issue is of extreme importance and urgency. For many young people, this could be a life or death issue. Three consultant Psychiatrists in Waterford and Wexford resigned their positions together. With a fourth consultant for the South East out on sick-leave this would leave the region entirely without expert mental health care from mid-July. It could disable the operations of most if not all mental health care in the region, if junior staff, non-consultant hospital doctors, psychologists and occupational therapists are left without senior staff to guide and authorise their work. "The situation has been deteriorating in the region for a long time now.

"We have heard from patient and staff groups about growing waiting lists, deteriorating working conditions and poorer service delivery.

"Even if the HSE does begin the process of recruitment immediately, it is going to take a long time before the necessary staff are in place. Currently there are 500 places unfilled nationally, with a staggering 26 psychiatric nursing positions vacant in the South East region. Recruitment can take up to six months, with said nurses having to go through a 25 step process.

"There is no coverage at all in the South East for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services when staff are on leave, due to these shortages."

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