Patients suffering as a result of self-harm or suicide attempts should be provided with an alternative access to hospital than the general Accident and Emergency system.
The proposal was made by Sinn Féin’s Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin during a Dáil debate on mental health services which Health Minister James Reilly admitted have suffered as a result of spending cuts.
Mr Ó Caoláin said the experience of mentally distressed people in the A&E ward is “totally unacceptable”.
He urged the Cabinet to heed the warning from Dr Reilly that constraints in public spending have affected implementation of mental health policy.
Dr Reilly said the Government remains committed to the Vision for Change policy, but its implementation “has been affected by a number of factors, including the changed economic context, constraints in public spending and the moratorium on recruitment”.
Meath East TD Helen McEntee said there were four deaths in her community in a short time, “one of them being my dad” — the late TD Shane McEntee.
“People are fantastic to rally around. But we as a Government need to make sure we do everything possible to prevent a situation like that from arising. Four young men from one community is a horrendous amount.”
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