Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Questions (122)

Michael Colreavy

Question:

122. Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Health the measures he is taking to urgently address the ongoing situation at acute psychiatric services in County Roscommon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30405/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Deputy will appreciate that the Health Service Executive has statutory responsibility for the planning and delivery of services at local level. This includes management of this particular facility as part of a single Mental Health service across Galway and Roscommon, which also encompasses similiar acute units at Ballinasloe and Galway. In circumstances where one of these units reaches maximum operational capacity, for whatever reason, then incoming patients receive treatment in one of the other units. This is normal practice in acute mental health provision nationally.

Roscommon Acute Psychiatric Unit recently experienced a high level of sick leave amongst staff. To address this issue, and above all to maintain a safe environment for both patients and staff, the HSE utilises acute services across the Local Health Office area. This includes adopting and maintaining a clinical plan to manage acute admissions. Staffing levels in Roscommon are reviewed on a daily basis, and are subject to change based on evolving operational requirements.

It should be emphasised that addressing relevant issues at this facility can only be viewed in the context of wider changes in the health service, including in the mental health area, and the need to provide in the future the most appropriate and best possible service at this Unit, in line with agreed Mental Health policy and service norms applicable elsewhere.

Roscommon public representatives and HSE Forum members met with HSE West senior clinicians and managers on Friday last to discuss issues such as Access to services; Staffing levels; and on-going or possible future service initiatives. I understand that the meeting was constructive overall. I will continue to liaise closely with the HSE concerning the matter raised by the Deputy, with a view to ensuring that any difficulties are resolved in the most appropriate manner in the light of evolving service priorities.