June closure for Navan Psychiatric Unit

Story by Ann Casey

Wednesday, 25th May, 2016 10:40am

June closure for Navan Psychiatric Unit

Lives could be lost if the planned closure of the psychiatric unit at Our Lady’s Hospital in Navan goes ahead in June - that was the stark message from local campaigners this week.
Cllr Wayne Forde described the proposal as dangerous, warning that lives would be lost, while the chairman of the Save Navan Hospital Campaign, Deputy Peadar Toibín, said the closure would damage doctors’ ability to treat life and death conditions.
The Save Navan Hospital Campaign will have a public meeting in Claremont Stadium, Navan, this Thursday at 8pm.
The HSE plans to close the 24-hour psychiatric unit in Navan and a similar facility in Ardee and to open a new unit in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, which will provide for fewer beds than is currently provided in Navan and Ardee combined.
Deputy Tóibín has demanded that the Government cancel the imminent closure of the 24-hour unit in Navan and said it was very important that people get to Thursday night’s meeting.
“We have three junior Ministers in the county. One of them, Helen McEntee, has specific responsibilities for mental health. It is critical that these ministers use their office to ensure that services are protected and that the underfunding that Meath has suffered is resolved immediately,” the Sinn Fein TD said.
Deputy Toibín said that, at the moment, individuals in need of psychiatric admission in Meath have had difficulties due to too much pressure on beds.
“Not only will we in Meath lose our overnight unit, but Ardee will also be closed. The new unit in Drogheda will not seek to replace all of these beds and will open up its new unit with fewer beds than currently provided for.
“The truth of the matter is that, given the major difficulties that exist for families, I don’t believe that any reduction in psychiatric beds is acceptable,” he said.  
“Many people from the Trim, Kells, Oldcastle areas will find it difficult to get to the hospital either as an admission or as a family member seeking to support a loved one.
“It is also worrying that a citizen seeking admission to the new psychiatric unit through Drogheda A&E will in all likelihood get caught up in the shocking overcrowding in the hospital.”
Cllr Forde said he had a number of concerns regarding patients presenting at Navan ED with an acute psychiatric episode and asked if additional ambulances for patients would be provided.
He called on the new Junior Health Minister Helen McEntee to ensure the proposals by the HSE are scrapped.
A spokesperson for the HSE said Louth-Meath Mental Health Services has been aligning its service provision towards an active, flexible and community-based mental health service where the need for hospital admission will be greatly reduced.  
The strategy recommends that acute inpatient facilities should be modern buildings with single en-suite rooms for each client in as normalised an environment as possible. The strategy recommends that new inpatient acute units serve defined populations and, in the case of Louth Meath, 46 beds are recommended for a population of 300,000. The current acute bed number, between St Brigid’s in Ardee and the Department of Psychiatry in Navan is 49.
“The new inpatient unit at Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda is a modern, purpose-designed inpatient facility of appropriate capacity and quality, consistent with current national policies for mental health services,” the spokesperson added.  
“The new service will offer consultant-led, multi-disciplinary inpatient acute mental health care in a modern open setting.”
The spokesperson stressed the inpatient unit in Drogheda was only one element of a community-focused mental health service providing shorter-term care for individuals experiencing acute mental illness which cannot be safely and effectively managed in a community setting.  

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