Wednesday 16th August 2023: The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Wednesday) that the planned closure of a 16-bed Sub-Acute Unit at St James’s Hospital Psychiatric Unit will seriously impact on the provision of mental health services in the Dublin area and is a direct result of the failure to recruit and retain sufficient psychiatric nursing staff to maintain services.
Peter Hughes, PNA General Secretary, said the closure of the St James’s Unit confirmed that the staffing situation in our mental health services is now so serious that whereas previously services would be curtailed because of staffing shortages, the HSE is now closing beds completely. This is an extremely worrying development for everyone trying to access services.
Mr. Hughes said: “The closure of the St James’s beds on 21st August comes in the wake of the failure to re-open 11 beds in the Linn Dara Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit, in Cherry Orchard, Dublin, which plays a vitally important role in the provision of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in the greater Dublin region.”
“The loss of beds in St James and Linn Dara will have a serious impact on the delivery of services throughout the Community Health Organisation Area 7 region and will have the knock-on effect of increasing demand for services in other parts of Dublin which will put further pressure on remaining services and staff.”
Mr. Hughes said the full extent of mental health nursing vacancies was revealed in the PNA national survey of late last year which found 700 psychiatric nursing staff vacancies in mental health services throughout the country. He said: “We have no reason to believe that this shortage has been reduced, and the imminent closure of the St James Unit confirms that staffing shortages continue to hinder the provision of mental health services with the resultant negative consequences for service users, their families, and the community. “
“It is totally unacceptable that nursing vacancies have been allowed to increase to such an extent that beds are being closed and vital services are being denied to the communities that need them.”