10 un-opened bed units at St Ita’s, Portane – when mental health services for youth are at crisis point

by Rose Barrett
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Paul Mulville, Fingal Social Democrats Cllr for Rush-Lusk LEA has once again raised the unopened 10 bed units at Portrane following a stark report this week into Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS).

Cllr Mulville has questioned the government’s commitment to opening the forensic CAHMS unit in Portrane soon – when mental health services for children and youth across Dublin and nationwide are seriously under pressure.

The Fingal elected representative called on government to commit to action independent CAMHS report recommendation this week.

Cllr calls for action re independent CAHMS review

Cllr Paul Mulville (SD) is highly critical that the units at St Ita’s remain closed, despite the mental health services for children and youth being under severe pressure.

The independent review of CAMHS by the Inspector of Mental Health Services, which followed a whistleblower speaking out, contains 49 recommendations, and recommends that: “The HSE must expedite the opening of the 10-bed forensic unit in the National Forensic Mental Health Service (NFMHS) campus in Portrane, and that this should be done at the latest by 31 December 2023.”

The follows revelations contained in the review which outlined that despite the construction and completion at great cost to the public of the 10-bed Forensic CAMHS Unit at the National Forensic Mental Health Service Hospital, Portrane, not only has the HSE not yet opened the unit, but shockingly that there are no current plans to do so due to difficulty in recruiting staff.

“We know that nurses and healthcare staff are facing major housing issues, due to be being increasingly priced out of the housing market in Dublin, as highlighted for example by the INMO, and that this is partly the reason that it is so hard to recruit nurses and healthcare staff,” said Cllr Mulville.

“The INMO has already rightly calling for subsidised accommodation to be urgently provided for our frontline nursing and healthcare staff, with the Psychiatric Nurses Association specifically demanding subsidised accommodation to be urgently provided on the grounds of St Ita’s, Portrane.

“This would help alleviate the staffing shortage facing the new National Forensic Mental Health Services hospital, including the unopened 10-bed Forensic CAMHS Unit, and also facing the existing intellectual disability service here,” he said.

He continued: “I am again calling on this government to bring forward plans now to provide subsidised accommodation for nursing and hospital staff at St Ita’s, and to immediately set about renovating and refurbishing some of the vacant historical St Ita’s buildings for this use. There is more than ample space available, and it only lacks political will to do it.”

Cllr Mulville concluded that when the Ministers arrived in Portrane last November to open the new hospital, particular reference was made in speeches to the new 10-forensic CAMHS unit.

“Now let them do something about the recruitment problems bedevilling the unopened facility, and sanction subsidised accommodation for nursing and hospital staff in Portrane, utilising the adjacant vacant historical buildings, and let them do it now.”

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