Number of Camhs beds 'half what it should be'

The general secretary of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA), Peter Hughes has warned that the number of beds available in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Camhs) nationally is almost half what it should be.
Number of Camhs beds 'half what it should be'

Vivienne Clarke

The general secretary of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA), Peter Hughes has warned that the number of beds available in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Camhs) nationally is almost half what it should be.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast in response to the closure of 11 beds in the Linn Dara Camhs unit at Cherry Orchard Hospital in Dublin, Mr Hughes called for a more innovative approach to recruit and retain staff after the HSE said the reason for the bed closures was due to staff shortages.

There should be 100 in-patient beds available for Camhs, he said, but now there are only 56. “We have to acknowledge there is a shortage of psychiatric nurses throughout the country. It needs a robust workforce planning strategy, and it needs to involve all the stakeholders - including the PNA.”

Absolutely nothing has been learned.

Issues about under-resourcing have been ongoing for years, added Mr Hughes. “The fact is that this happened five years ago, and five years later nothing has been learned - absolutely nothing has been learned”.

There are a number of reasons for staff shortages, he explained. Following the reopening of international borders, nurses are emigrating again. Others are moving out of Dublin because of the cost of living and the private sector is offering better terms and conditions.

Mr Hughes called on the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to intervene. “We really have to ask what it takes for the HSE to realise the extent of the Camhs crisis in the country when they can embark on the removal of these 11 beds from the system.”

The HSE must now come forward to target solutions and incentives to encourage the recruitment and retention of nurses to adequately staff Camhs services, otherwise the reduction in beds “will further exacerbate an already unacceptable waiting list for Camhs".

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