Wednesday 30th October: The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) has today (Wednesday) said that overcrowding in the Waterford mental health services has reached unprecedented levels and has placed staff working in the services under intolerable pressure.

The 44-bed acute Psychiatry Unit at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) has an additional 10 patients admitted on the ward. Ten beds assigned to Waterford Mental Health Services at the private St Patrick’s Mental Health Services in Dublin are now full and a further three Waterford patients have had to be transferred to Kilkenny which is now also fully occupied.

PNA Industrial Relations Officer, Michael Hayes said the overcrowding in the Waterford services has now reached unprecedented levels despite repeated warnings from the PNA in recent months that the situation in the services was deteriorating.

“This situation has been building for some months and is now causing intolerable distress to already vulnerable patients and staff alike. We have had four assaults on staff over the weekend alone and this is on top of a series of assaults in recent months.”

“PNA has been warning of the growing overcrowding in these services, including service users sleeping on chairs in some cases, for some time, but our concerns are falling on deaf ears. A recent Mental Health Commission Report  identified a number of serious deficiencies in the Psychiatry Unit at UHW, and together with the current chronic overcrowding we now have  a service that is increasingly chaotic resulting in serious repercussions for service users, staff and standards of care”.

“This situation cannot be allowed to continue and the under resourcing and under staffing of the Waterford mental health services must be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

Media Contact : Derek Cunningham 086 2430535

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