A Waterford TD has been recounting the experience of a patient in the psychiatric ward Waterford University Hospital, ahead of a nurses strike this afternoon.

Psychiatric nurses say unprecedented levels of overcrowding at UHW and staffing shortages, are continuously compromising standards of care for service users and placing staff working in the Unit under ‘intolerable pressure’.

The Psychiatric Nurses Association says mental health services have been massively neglected since the recession in 2008, with hundreds of nurses moving abroad, bringing several hundred vacancies in the service.

Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, Waterford TD David Cullinane told the chamber of one patient’s experience.

“She said she saw a patient be dragged naked down a corridor, to be put in a seclusion room.

‘I was too scared to go to the dining area to eat, I was starving, I began to feel institutionalized.’

“Conditions at the unit were sometimes so bad, she said, that you could go out of the ward, come back, and your bed was occupied by another patient.

‘I didn’t need to be pumped full of meds, I just needed someone to talk to me.’

Industrial relations officer with the PNA Michael Hayes, says those in the HSE, the mental health commission, and government, need to stop burying their heads in the sand, and address the issue.

“We’re looking for commitment now, a commitment to ensure this never happens again.”

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