Concerns over 'serious' staffing issues at Cork youth mental health service

In a statement from the union yesterday, SIPTU said representatives have written to management of the unit regarding the concerns, calling for a "comprehensive plan" to be put in place
Concerns over 'serious' staffing issues at Cork youth mental health service

The Eist Linn Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) inpatient unit is based at the Bessborough Centre in Blackrock,

SIPTU has raised concerns over what it has described as “serious staffing issues” at the Eist Linn Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) inpatient unit in Bessborough, Blackrock.

In a statement from the union yesterday, SIPTU said representatives have written to management of the unit regarding the concerns, calling for a "comprehensive plan" to be put in place.

"In the letter to management sent on Friday, 13th January, we note that four nursing staff have notified management of their intent to leave the service," SIPTU organiser, Natasha Linehan Treacy, said.

"When existing vacancies within the service are taken into consideration, that means there will be 11 whole time equivalent nursing vacancies within the Eist Linn inpatient unit."

Ms Linehan Treacy described the current situation regarding staff levels at the Eist Linn inpatient unit as "intolerable" and is, she said, leading to "heavy dependence on agency staff and the use of overtime within the unit". 

"We have written to management to seek an urgent meeting on this issue. 

"A comprehensive plan on how it is intended that management will address the level of nursing vacancies in the immediate term is essential.

"It is unacceptable for all our members in the unit that they are attempting to deliver a service with only 58 percent of nursing posts filled. 

"This situation also speaks to broader staffing issues across the CAMHS service," she continued. 

CAHMS is a service that provides assessment and treatment for young people and their families who are experiencing mental health difficulties.

Most young people who attend an inpatient CAMHS unit will be aged between 12 and 18 years and will be experiencing symptoms such as severe low mood, high levels of anxiety, thought disorders or significant eating problems.

STATEMENT

In relation to staffing levels at Eist Linn, a spokesperson for Cork Kerry Community Healthcare (CKCH) confirmed there are a “number of nursing vacancies” at the inpatient unit. 

"We are working to fill these vacancies as quickly as possible, but the recruitment environment is currently challenging.

"Management at Eist Linn are putting plans in place to address these staff shortages, in order to minimise the impact on the young people using services. We remain committed to offering a safe, quality service for young people who need the service at Eist Linn," the spokesperson said. 

"Eist Linn management engage with staff representative bodies monthly through a communication forum. 

"Nursing staff levels are among the issues discussed each month at this forum.

"Notwithstanding the current challenging recruitment climate, we continue to actively seek solutions," the spokesperson continued. 

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