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Clinical Director quits at Beaumont Hospital over safety concerns

Professor Shane O’Neill was Clinical Director for Medicine – he will stay on as a consultant.

Updated 7.55pm

A CLINICAL DIRECTOR has quit his role at Beaumont Hospital over concerns about patient safety.

Professor Shane O’Neill sent an email to hospital management about his concerns on Friday evening, the Sunday Business Post reports today.

The paper reports that O’Neill’s email said that he could not stand over “significant clinical risks” at the hospital.

He raised concerns about the assessment of psychiatric patients in the emergency room, saying it was unsafe.

He is to continue on in his role as a consultant at Beaumont.

What the hospital said

In a statement, the hospital confirmed that in an email sent Friday 16 May 2014, Prof Shane O’Neill “indicated his intention to step down from his post as Clinical Director for Medicine at the hospital”.

It said that the Ashlin Centre, a new purpose-built adult HSE psychiatric facility, located on the Beaumont Hospital Campus, will open to patients next week.

The unit will provide 38 general adult beds and six Psychiatry of Old Age acute admission beds. “On the opening of the Ashlin Centre, existing interim psychiatric assessment and treatment services at Fairview will close,” said the hospital.

Proposals have been made to have out of hours and weekend assessments for the Ashlin Centre carried out at the Beaumont Emergency Department, with the assistance of additional resources.

It said the finalisation of these proposals “is under active discussion between the HSE and Beaumont with a view to finding a solution which is in the best interests of patients”.

Wake-up call for Health Minister?

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher TD said Prof O’Neill’s resignation “must be a wake-up call for the Minister for Health James Reilly”.

The fact that he feels he had no option but to quit is evidence alone of gravity of the situation and the fact that these concerns have been ignored for far too long.

He noted that a group of psychiatrists wrote to Minister Reilly and Minister of State Kathleen Lynch months ago “to warn about the escalating crisis in psychiatric services in Dublin”.

- First published 14.59

Read: Contract cleaners at Beaumont Hospital plan industrial action in January>

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