Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has called on Minister Mary Butler to explain why the planned eating disorder service in Mount Carmel Hospital, due to open by late 2021, will now not open until June 2022 at the earliest.
In October, Minister Butler said a new unit at Mount Carmel Hospital was due to open by late 2021, but the HSE has confirmed it will not open until June 2022 at the earliest.
Teachta Ward said:
“A new eating disorder unit at Mount Carmel Hospital was due to open by late 2021 – Minister for State Mary Butler said in October. But the HSE has confirmed it will not open until June 2022 at the earliest.
“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 spoken with families recently 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.
“Eating disorder services have been hit hard by delayed funding at a time of increased demand.
“Since 2016, €5.7m has been made available for eating disorder posts — but just €1.77m has been invested.
“Figures published by the HRB show a 61% rise in 2020 in admissions of children and adolescents to psychiatric units and hospitals for eating disorders and a 32% increase among adults.
“This is yet again another kick in the teeth for those experiencing eating disorders and their families.”