Deputy John McGuinness
Local TD John McGuinness has slammed the ‘Third World’ conditions at Saint Luke’s Department of Psychiatry (DOP) and warned that sweeping changes must be made.
“There are queues out there for even the most basic of services. The people who urgently need these services are made to suffer,” he said.
His comments follow the release of a report that identified large scale inadequacies in mental health rehabilitation services at the unit.
“I’ve visited the unit enough times to know the scale of the difficulties patients and staff are facing and I have heard some horrific stories in that time.
"This isn’t the first report where these issues have been flagged and each time a report is released the response from the HSE has been very poor.”
High staff turnover rates, lack of an occupational therapist and inefficient aftercare provisions were just some of the issues flagged by the report that hinder delivery of HSE-led mental health services in Kilkenny.
Deputy McGuinness recalled one emotional evening where, after closing his clinic for the day, a distraught family presented themselves to his door pleading for immediate mental health services.
“The HSE could not provide any immediate help for them. They failed that family” he said.
“If it wasn’t for voluntary mental health service providers such as Teac Tom and Dandelion Counselling Service some people would have nowhere to go.
“We have unfortunately seen the tragic consequences caused by these failings and I am calling for accountability.
“The HSE continue to outsource their problems and fail to provide adequate solutions.”