Fears of bed closures in Camhs as concern raised over staff vacancies

Sinn Féin TD Mark Ward has called for an urgent response to keep Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Camhs) beds open in Cork as fears grow over more bed closures.

The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) has raised concerns about staff vacancies throughout the country and pointed to the worsening staffing crisis within Camhs services in Cork.

It follows a damning interim report by the Mental Health Commission on Camhs services published this week, which has laid bare the lack of investment in mental health services and lack of workforce within those services.

The interim report will be debated in the Dáil later on Thursday.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on mental health Mark Ward said the PNA had added to concerns of staff leaving Eist Linn Camhs services, which has 16 beds.

“Camhs inpatient capacity has already reduced since the closure of 11 beds in Linn Dara, back in May of last year,” Mr Ward said.

“These beds were due to be reopened in September, which did not happen, and again in December, which also did not happen.

“Out of the 72 beds that are available, only 51 are in operation at this moment in time, and the uncertainty over the 16 beds at Eist Linn does not bode well for an already embattled Camhs,” Mr Ward added.

He said this could result in a situation where only 35 of the 72 inpatient Camhs beds are available.

“If we have further bed closures, Camhs will come apart at the seams.

“I agree with the calls by the PNA for a workforce planning group to be urgently established to tackle the issues of staff recruitment and retention,” he added.

Mr Ward said he had written to Minister of State for Mental Health Mary Butler requesting she puts in every effort to keep these vital beds open.


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