A protest has taken place at University Hospital Waterford highlighting overcrowding at the Acute Psychiatry Unit.

The Waterford Branch of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) protesting at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) today. Pic: Patrick Browne

The Psychiatric Nurses Association say levels of overcrowding have reached unprecedented levels.

The organisation believes under-resourcing of mental health services is having an impact on the delivery of care.

PNA Industrial Relations Officer, Michael Hayes said today’s protest was necessary to highlight the impact it is having on the delivery of care to vulnerable services users.

Mr Hayes said: “Overcrowding on the scale that regularly and routinely occurs at the Acute Unit in UHW is an affront to the rights of patients presenting there and puts intolerable pressure on staff who are struggling to deliver the highest standards of professional nursing care.”

“The serious issues arising at the UHW Unit can be directly linked to under resourcing, understaffing and the complete absence in the Waterford region of proper multi-disciplinary community teams.

We must ask the question ‘Why has this situation been allowed to happen in Waterford and who within the HSE is to be held responsible for this chaotic service to some of our most vulnerable in society?

“It is beyond belief that while the Government is announcing a revision of the Vision For Change mental health strategy, that a key element of the 13-year-old strategy, the provision of full resourced and staffed multi-disciplinary community mental health teams, has never been implemented in Waterford.

“The absence of this key service puts enormous and unacceptable pressure on the Acute Psychiatry Unit at UHW.”

Mr Hayes said the PNA is demanding that the HSE urgently address the deficit in mental health services in Waterford.

He added: “The situation exposed in UWH last week cannot be allowed to continue or repeated and the under-resourcing and under-staffing of the Waterford mental health services must be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

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