Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has said that further delays in the opening of a planned eating disorder service in Mount Carmel Hospital are unacceptable.
The facility was due to open in late 2021 before being initially delayed until June 2022.
Teachta Ward has received a response from the HSE this week to say construction will now not be finished until late 2022.
Teachta Ward said:
“Minister for State Mary Butler said in October that a new eating disorder unit at Mount Carmel Hospital was due to open by late 2021 before the HSE confirmed in December that it would not open until June 2022 at the earliest.
“This week I received confirmation that construction of this much-needed facility will now not be finished until late 2022, at the earliest.
“This is a year after the date that the Minister first promised that it would open.
“There is a complete lack of urgency to tackle eating disorders. The amount of people presenting for treatment with eating disorders has increased over the last few years.
“Figures published by the Health Research Board (HRB) show that in 2020 there was a 61% rise in admissions of children and adolescents to psychiatric units and hospitals for eating disorders and a 32% increase among adults.
“There are currently just three impatient beds for adults in the state for people suffering from eating disorders and these three beds are only available to those in the catchment area of CHO area 6.
“In other parts of the HSE, adult patients are currently admitted to local general adult mental health units.
“I have recently spoken with families who feel that their loved ones do not get the specialist treatment required when admitted to generic mental health hospitals.
“What often happens is that the patient gets referred to a generic adult mental health unit and kept in until their body mass index is increased.
“I have reports that they are then discharged back to the community without any specialist help.
“I asked the HSE to provide me with the original cost budgeted for the Mount Carmel eating disorder service and the expected increase in costs due to the delay.
“The HSE informed me that they could not provide me with this information as the tender process is still ongoing.
“We have seen in the past the huge cost overruns in the National Children’s Hospital.
“The Minister needs to give assurances that this will not be repeated in Mount Carmel and that the facility will open to patients this year.”