Councillors pass motion calling on HSE to fully investigate overcrowding in UHW Psychiatric Unit

Councillors pass motion calling on HSE to fully investigate overcrowding in UHW Psychiatric Unit

Councillors have passed a motion calling on the HSE to fully investigate overcrowding in the Psychiatric Unit in University Hospital Waterford (UHW) after images emerged of patients sleeping on the floor.

The motion, which was unanimously passed by Wexford County Council, expressed "dismay" at the conditions, overcrowding and treatment of patients at the Psychiatric Unit of UHW and calls on the Minister for Health to apologise to the front-line staff, patients and their families for the conditions.

The Council have also demanded that the HSE conduct a full investigation and to make resources available in the region.

Chair of Wexford county council Michael Sheehan said the HSE must now allocate more funds and resources to South East region to ensure a similar situation does not happen again at UHW.

"Those pictures should be a once-off, if this situation persists at some point in the future there will be a fatality, this could spiral out of control.

"Nobody can stand over the conditions," he said, adding that many people could be treated in their own locality if more supports are directed into community facilities.

Wexford County Council will now write to the HSE and Health Minister Simon Harris demanding action to tackle overcrowding and staff shortages.

The minister has to put his hand up and say sorry, the system has failed and we cannot continue to fail some of the most vulnerable in our society.

The motion also demanded that "age-appropriate" accommodation and beds are provided in the region to make sure minors are not admitted to adult psychiatric wards.

After pictures were published in the Irish Examiner showing people lying on floors and across chairs in the unit earlier this month, chief officer with South East Community Healthcare Kate Killeen-White said she could not defend the situation in Waterford.

Reacting to the images she said that "the reality is that demand often exceeds supply" for the services in the region and acknowledged the situation "is not ideal and is not acceptable".

The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said there were 54 patients in the 44-bed unit around the time the images were taken.

Another seven patients were sent to the private St Patrick’s mental health services in Dublin and three more to Kilkenny.

PNA industrial relations officer Michael Hayes said five patients were forced to sleep on chairs.

Mr Hayes said there are 50 vacancies in mental health services in the region and they are “not in a position to build up a community service”.

More on this topic

No extra beds and no extra staff being appointed as part of HSE Winter PlanNo extra beds and no extra staff being appointed as part of HSE Winter Plan

Ruling on hospital sites due in new yearRuling on hospital sites due in new year

Elderly patients being sent home as beds lie empty in Kerry community hospitals, council hearsElderly patients being sent home as beds lie empty in Kerry community hospitals, council hears

High burnout for staff at CUMH delivery wardsHigh burnout for staff at CUMH delivery wards


More in this Section

Two men held after digger used in double ATM theftTwo men held after digger used in double ATM theft

8 National Parks and Nature Reserves to close for Storm Atiyah8 National Parks and Nature Reserves to close for Storm Atiyah

Man due in court over drug, gold and alcohol seizureMan due in court over drug, gold and alcohol seizure

Restricting TDs and Senators from double-jobbing 'needs consideration', says TaoiseachRestricting TDs and Senators from double-jobbing 'needs consideration', says Taoiseach


Lifestyle

Laura Williams reveals her 10-minute top-to-toe workout.Is this is the ultimate party-season body blitz?

More From The Irish Examiner