Deputy Catherine Connolly has said that the delay in the roll out of community mental health services in Galway city, Conamara and the islands has been brought to her attention and the absence of such services is a cause of great concern to her.
It is clear that the existing service is at crisis point necessitating ongoing visits by the Mental Health Commission who have repeatedly highlighted the inadequacies of the service. In addition we have patients walking out of Accident and Emergency because of the crisis there notwithstanding their need for psychiatric treatment.
Deputy Connolly said the new 50-bed Psychiatric Unit which is due to open before the end of the year will be of some assistance and lead to an improved service, but further crises are inevitable without the roll-out of community mental health services in the city, Conamara and the islands.
Indeed, said Deputy Connolly, it is a fundamental part of A Vision for Change that adequate and appropriate space would be identified for community team staff to provide outpatient, domiciliary and day hospital services to a catchment area of more than 100,000 adult and elderly people throughout Galway city, Conamara and the islands.
Yet notwithstanding that it is now over 11 years since A Vision for Change was rolled-out there is still a complete lack of appropriate infrastructure to treat patients with acute illness in the community. Indeed, Galway city and Conamara have no day hospitals and totally inadequate access to outpatient clinical space.
To address this deficit Deputy Connolly says she understands that there is a very positive proposal by the HSE West to locate a community mental health team at a site in Dangan which they have been working on for some time. Unfortunately there now seems to be a delay in the roll-out of the plan without adequate explanation as to why. In this regard Deputy Connolly has tabled a series of Dáil questions seeking clarification in relation to the status of the proposal and an expected time-scale for the opening and operation of the facility.