Fine Gael’s Dr. Twomey raised issues regarding the provision of mental health services in County Wexford with the Minister of State, Deputy John Moloney in the Seanad this week.
Acknowledging the need to close St. Senan’s hospital because of the poor facilities which are available in this hospital, Dr. Twomey said however that he is not keen on the plan envisaged at the moment. “Under that plan, patients from County Wexford must go to either Carlow or Waterford to receive treatment and the Government has no plans to build an acute unit on the grounds of Wexford General Hospital. That is another backward step because while many patients can be treated in the community, there is a need for an acute admissions unit for those who suffer an acute psychiatric crisis. They need immediate help and proper in-patient care when such a thing happens. A large unit would not be necessary, things have moved on, and patient stays in acute units can be considerably shortened. There should, however, be an acute unit on the grounds of Wexford General Hospital because the county has a population of over 130,000, with a huge transient population. In the past I have dealt with acute psychiatric crises among those passing through the county. That can be more difficult because they have no family support or company when the episode occurs and there is a need for immediate transfer.”
Dr. Twomey also called on the Minister of State to look at the way patient transfers are being carried out. “At the moment, there can be significant delays for the patients most at risk, waiting on the HSE team to arrive. I would be concerned that if St. Senan’s closed completely and the delays that can happen with the HSE team at present continue, we could find ourselves in a worse situation with the patients that need the highest level of care during an acute episode.”
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