Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East and Spokesperson on Children & Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte says it’s completely unacceptable that out of 25 Community Health Teams in the Western region, only 4 have a full staff allocation.

Deputy Rabbitte questioned the Chief Officer of the Community Healthcare Organisation for Galway, Mayo and Roscommon Tony Canavan at this morning’s Oireachtas Mental Health Committee meeting.

“Tony Cananvan confirmed today what everyone who has any dealings with community health services already knows – there are serious staff shortages across the region.  Mr. Canavan admitted in the Committee hearing that out of the 25 Community Health Teams across Galway, Mayo and Roscommon, 21 of them do not have a full complement of staff.  This not only increases pressure on the staff that are working within the service, it also leads to long waiting times and delays for service users.  It’s simply not good enough”, said Deputy Rabbitte.

“We need to see a dedicated recruitment campaign launched to increase staff levels across all the teams which are not meeting their staffing targets.

“Similarly, investment in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services must be made a matter of priority.  I was horrified to learn that there are only 18 in-patient beds at Merlin Park to cater for children and young people from Donegal to Tipperary – 9 counties in all.  The HSE argued that there were enough beds to cater for demand and claimed that services are available in the community – this is extremely difficult to believe given the fact that the majority of Community Health Teams in this region do not have enough staff.

“Community Health Teams, including the CAMHS service provide essential healthcare services to children and adults across Galway but they are not being given the necessary resources.  Ministers Simon Harris and Jim Daly cannot continue to ignore the huge staffing shortfalls in these areas and I am urging them to ensure that these staffing issues are addressed without delay”.

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