The PNA broadly welcomes the decision of the Mental Health Commission to close admissions to St Itas and St Brendans.
In relation to St Brendans negotiations are at an advanced stage to facilitate the opening of the new unit in Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown. Sanction has been given for the recruitment of the necessary Staff since St. Brendans have lost about 35 Nurses and therefore there are not sufficient nurses available to facilitate the opening of the Unit. This unit can only open when these staff have been recruited. It is anticipated however that every effort is being made by Management to recruit these nurses which will facilitate the negotiations to be completed in time to ensure the opening of the unit well in advance of the proposed closure date.
In relation to St. Itas the decision to cease admissions to their Acute Unit from February 2011 presents significant challenges, it is the unions understanding that the new acute unit in Beaumont hospital will not be opened until 2012. It is also the case that St Itas is hemorrhaging nurses at an extraordinary rate and the HSE must make every effort to retain staff including those graduating in 2010 if we are to have enough nurse to maintain services to patients
The major question is, where are patients to go if admissions to St. Ita’s cease in February 2011 and the new union in Beaumont is not opened until 2012.
This is a typical example of making a bad situation worse and those that will suffer are again the most vulnerable in our society. The PNA welcomes the move to provide acute services at Beaumont but will challenge either the HSE or the Mental Health Commission if they attempt to close services at St Ita’s where the proposed new services at Beaumont are not available for patients. We would ask how can the Mental Health Commission stand over their decision, where it appears their rationale is that no service is preferable to a good service being provided in what is accepted are outdate facilities.
Up to recently the plan for St Senan’s Enniscorthy was to build a new acute unit at Wexford General Hospital to replace the acute units at St Senan’s which was totally supported by the PNA as it was part of a five year plan in which the PNA had a major input, for the closure of St Senans. Rumour is now circulating that a decision has been made by the HSE to scrap this plan and that all acute admissions from Wexford are to go to the Acute Unit at Waterford Regional Hospital, so, the move to close admissions to St Senan’s would appear now to be a cost saving rationalisation plan.
No formal HSE position on this has been put to the PNA but the rumours are strong enough to have initiated a strong growing political campaign to maintain acute services in Wexford by the provision of a modern acute unit at Wexford General which until recently was HSE Policy.
Any proposal to move patients to Waterford for acute care will be challenged by the PNA.
- Waterford does not have the capacity to deal with the Wexford patients and neither has there been any discussions with the Waterford PNA about such a move.
- If patients from Wexford are to be admitted to Waterford it will obviously create a problem for persons from Waterford requiring admission.
- There will be no acute services available in Wexford so if a person from Gorey requires an acute admission they will have to travel 70 miles to Waterford.
One of the most important aspects to a patients recovery is the involvement and support of family members. How could a family give this type of support by having to travel a round trip of 140 miles several times a week
The PNA will always work to ensure that patients and their families are protected and that appropriate services are available in their own locality.