Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has said that there is a lack of urgency in delivering a mental health inpatient perinatal unit.
Deputy Ward was speaking after receiving another response to a parliamentary question that could not give a detailed timeframe for the development of the mother and baby unit.
Teachta Ward said:
“I have received yet another response to a parliamentary question that does not give a definitive timeframe for when the proposed inpatient perinatal unit will be up and running.
“Within the last year, St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin has been chosen as the site for this vital 10-bed unit, but we still do not know when this will be operational.
“This process is taking far too long and needs to be streamlined. The Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service Model of Care published in 2017 recommended that a mother and baby unit be developed in Dublin. It’s now 2023 and we are still waiting.
“Recommendations in Sharing the Vision calls for a new Mother and Baby Unit to be in place in 2024, however this date was not included in last year’s Women’s Health action plan.
“Mothers who need inpatient care are currently being admitted to acute psychiatric units without their children.
“We have a dark history in this state in separating Mothers from their babies and history is now repeating itself in this instance.
“At present there is no inpatient specialist perinatal hospital on the island of Ireland
“The Model of Care for Perinatal services has developed a hub and spoke model. This seems to be working quite well, despite some accommodation issues.
“Perinatal services in Cork, Limerick and Galway are reduced to hot desking, are waiting for refurbishment works, improved access to clinical and office accommodation remain to be a challenge.
“We must have a Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service that is fit for purpose and free to act in the best interests of women’s health.”