People Before Profit TDs, Bríd Smith and Gino Kenny, have reacted angrily to the news that the Linn Dara facility in West Dublin is set to see 11 of its 23 inpatient beds close. The facility, which is one of only three high observation child and mental health services in the country, saw a similar crisis in 2017.
The HSE has said the reason for the closure is qualified staff shortages.
Local TD Bríd Smith said: “This is unbelievable and feels like a sick version of Groundhog Day; the exact same reason and action happened 5 years ago. The then Minister, Helen McEntee, expressed sympathy and concern and yet 5 years later this and the previous government have clearly failed miserably to address the systemic crisis in our health system, especially in areas like this which deal with vulnerable children and adolescents”.
People Before Profit health spokesperson, Gino Kenny TD, said: “Yet again the failure to recruit and retain trained staff in such a crucial area will hit the most vulnerable. We already had a crisis in child mental health services with over 50 children inappropriately placed in adult facilities over the last years. It’s really hard to take lectures form Government about their concern for children’s mental health during Covid when they have failed miserably to come near providing the levels of inpatient beds called for by the Vision for Change plan. That means we should have at least 100 beds available for Camhs patients nationally. If this cut happens we will have just 56 operational beds in the entire country.”
The TDs will raise it the issue in the Dail this week and are echoing the call of the PNA (Psychiatric Nurses Association) for the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to intervene and ensure the unit is fully operational.