Closing the in-patient psychiatric unit at Our Lady’s Hospital in Navan will take away a vital safety net for vulnerable people in Meath, local suicide charity SOSAD warned this week.
Plans to move the unit from Navan to Drogheda by the middle of next year has been described as a dangerous move by the Save Navan Hospital campaign.
Pointing out that there is already great difficulty in getting people at risk of suicide a space in an in-patient service, Save Navan Hospital chairman, Deputy Peadar Tóibin, said psychiatric services are already massively under-resourced.
“The Save Navan Hospital Campaign is against this cut in services. This will make it harder for acute cases. The HSE is moving away from treating people in hospital and this is dangerous. Serious cases will always need in-patient care,” he warned.
Peter Moroney, founder of SOSAD, said the 20-bed psychiatric facility in Navan had a better name than any other hospital service in the north-east.
“The suicide rate in Meath is not as high as nationally because that facility is there. I’d hate to think what would happen if it is taken away,” he said.
Mr Moroney said if the unit in Navan wasn’t there, it would stop people seeking the help and support they need.
The removal of the psychiatric in-patient beds from Navan has been in the pipeline for a number of years, but the HSE indicated this week that the move is expected to take place in the second quarter of next year.
Cllr Wayne Forde said he was very concerned about the loss of acute psychiatric services in Navan and believes this is part of an overall plan by the HSE to make Our Lady’s Hospital into a ‘day service only’ hospital.
The HSE confirmed this week that acute adult mental health services in Louth and Meath will be centralised at Crosslanes, Drogheda, adjacent to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and it is proposed to use the existing psychiatric in-patient unit in Navan as a day hospital.