Deputy Connolly says she has tabled a number of questions to the Mister for Health in relation to the delayed opening of the new psychiatric unit at Galway University Hospital. Dep Connolly said she was previously informed that the new 50-bed unit would be open by December 2017, which was itself following a previous delay. Assurances were then given to Deputy Connolly that the unit would be operational by March, 2018 once the building regulations had been addressed. It is now the end of March and there is no sign of the building being opened.
Deputy Connolly said that the delay in opening the promised new facility is very worrying given the extraordinary pressures on the current psychiatric facility. This is a facility that has a 45-bed capacity. However, Deputy Connolly has been informed that there were 51 patients in the unit last week. In addition, vulnerable people requiring mental health services are simply walking out of an overburdened Accident and Emergency with tragic consequences.
Moreover, the Mental Health Commission, which visits the facility on an annual basis, has repeatedly highlighted the inadequacy of the current building, the lack of privacy, and overcrowding, leading to a patient sleeping on the floor, among many other issues.
In addition, the state of the art 20-bed unit in St Brigid’s in Ballinasloe never opened on the basis that a new unit would be opened in Galway city with significantly increased capacity.
Yet here we are in 2018, 5 years after a refusal to open the state of the art facility, we still don’t have the promised new building.