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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 12°C
Sasko Lazarov/ Mark Ward TD is calling for urgent action from Government.
# camhs
HSE confirms 11 bed closures at Dublin CAMHS unit
Sinn Féin’s Mental Health spokesperson says the closures “will create nothing short of a crisis for child and adolescent services in the Dublin region”.

LAST UPDATE | May 22nd 2022, 4:48 PM

A SINN FÉIN TD says immediate Government intervention is required after the closure of nine beds at a Dublin CAMHS unit.

The bed closures affect the Linn Dara Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit in Cherry Orchard.

Mark Ward, Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Mental Health, added that he’s received information from the Psychiatric Nurses Association that these beds will remain closed until September.

In a statement to The Journal, a HSE spokesperson confirmed that the “difficult decision has been made to temporarily reduce the inpatient capacity at Linn Dara Child and Adolescent Inpatient facility from 22 beds to 13 beds”.

The statement added that “this short-term reduction will be reviewed on a weekly basis, with the intention to return to full capacity at the earliest opportunity”.

It further adds that “the capacity issue is not related to any funding difficulties, but is due to challenges in hiring and retaining nursing staff at levels necessary to operate Linn Dara at full capacity while maintaining necessary standards of care”.

Local TD Bríd Smith of People Before Profit said: “This is unbelievable and feels like a sick version of Groundhog Day.

“The exact same reason and action happened five years ago. The then Minister, Helen McEntee, expressed sympathy and concern and yet 5 years later this and the previous government have clearly failed miserably to address the systemic crisis in our health system, especially in areas like this which deal with vulnerable children and adolescents.”

The Psychiatric Nurses Association blasted the decision, with its general secretary Peter Hughes saying Linn Dara “plays a vitally important role in the provision of child and adolescent mental health services in the greater Dublin region.

“A similar decision to close beds in this unit was made in 2017 and was met by widespread shock and opposition. It now appears that five years on that nothing has been learned and we find ourselves in the same position again.”

He added that while the association recognises the current difficulty with recruiting nurses, “the response of the government and HSE cannot be to simply reduce services

Deputy Ward says the nursing complement for the in-patient unit is 51, but that there are only 24 nurses currently employed for the unit – a shortage of 27 nurses.

He added that the bed closures “will create nothing short of a crisis for child and adolescent services in the Dublin region” and has called on the Health Minister, Stephen Donnelly, to avert these closures.

Deputy Ward said “this is not the first time the closure of beds has happened in Linn Dara and it seems that Government has learned nothing”.

However, the HSE spokesperson said “staff will be deployed appropriately across the Linn Dara Child and Adolescent Mental Health Community teams to enhance the level of support available to the children and the families in the area”.

The spokesperson added that the HSE is “actively engaged in a comprehensive national and international recruitment processes for Psychiatric Nursing staff for Linn Dara” and that the Health Service will “continue all efforts to recruit staff for this unit over the coming weeks and explore all possible options to hire qualified staff”.

A statement from the HSE reads: “Linn Dara has 24 beds in total – Two 11-bedded units plus two High-Dependency Beds for use if a patient needs more specialist care for a brief period before returning to their Unit.

“As outlined previously, the HSE has temporarily closed one of the Units resulting in a reduction of 11 beds with 13 still open and in operation.”

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