The HSE has isssued a statement aiming to reassure the public about patient welfare at the Department of Psychiatry at St Luke's Hospital.
A HSE spokesperson said that they 'would like to reassure the public that all of the staff within the South East Community Healthcare mental health services are committed to the provision of a quality and safe mental health service to the population of Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary'.
The statement continued that 'due to high clinical need for admission over the weekend January 12 to 14 inclusive, an exceptional circumstance developed regarding over-occupancy at the DOP Kilkenny whereby there were 52 residents being nursed and cared for in the 44-bedded acute psychiatric unit at 8am on January 15'.
After appropriate clinical review of in-patients by senior medical staff throughout the course of the day, the number of residents in the DOP had reduced to below 44 by 6pm on January 15.
The 44 bed Dept. of Psychiatry (DOP) acute mental health facility located on the grounds of St. Luke’s General Hospital in Kilkenny serves the Carlow-Kilkenny/South Tipperary catchment area.
According to the statement 'an excellent team is in place at the DOP in Kilkenny to serve the needs of all those who require treatment and support'.
There are 45 Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) nursing posts in place at the DOP in Kilkenny, in addition to other medical, specialist and support staff.
The HSE continues to work with staff representatives in the development of mental health services at acute and community level across the South East. Meetings, as part of ongoing engagement with the Psychiatric Nurses Association, will be taking place.
The spokesperson pointed out that individuals can access health service, as follows:
• through their GP and/or CAREDOC, the GP Out of Hours services – tel. (1850) 334 999;
• via the Emergency Department 24 hours a day at St. Luke’s General Hospital in Kilkenny and South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel.
• through the local mental health service (which takes referrals from the family doctor, CAREDOC or health professionals in the Emergency Departments of hospitals).
Deputy John McGuinness has raised concerns about the department in the Dáil this week and is also addressing the matter with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris.