Mullen condemns ‘shambolic’ HSE policy for mental health services in Galway

“HSE policy for mental health services requires an urgent reality check”

Independent University Senator Rónán Mullen has criticised the farcical state of mental health services in Galway. Speaking in the Seanad, Senator Mullen decried “a parallel universe in Galway where every rational policy is turned on its head and all common sense is thrown out the window.”

Senator Mullen accused the HSE of abandoning their “much vaunted ‘Vision for Change’ plan for mental health services which recommended that care be given close to the communities where the patients live.” “Instead, the HSE’s plan is to centralise mental health treatment into a leaking and over-crowded mental health unit in the University Hospital in Galway city which is in appalling condition,” Senator Mullen said.

“Meanwhile, instead of waiting for the Galway city unit to be completed, the HSE closed a state of the art mental health facility at St Brigid’s Hospital in Ballinasloe which cost over €3 million to renovate. Furthermore, last year it was announced that the Bons Secour Hospital in Tuam, called the Grove Hospital locally, was to get a €3 million renovation to turn it into a mental health day hospital. But that plan has not left the drawing board, and considering all the broken promises one doubts it will ever see the light of day.”

Senator Mullen continued by highlighting the painful human cost for families caused by negligent HSE policy. “While the farce of closing units before new facilities are ready is HSE policy, we are still sending vulnerable patients abroad for urgent treatment. I speak to families struggling to cope with loved ones suffering from mental illness; they see their only option is to seek treatment abroad. Treatment abroad puts enormous strain on the patient and the family members,” Senator Mullen said.

“The HSE policy for mental health services is shambolic. Centralisation of these services runs completely contrary to their promised community-based focus and is causing many families in Galway and elsewhere unnecessary pain. It requires an urgent reality check,” Senator Mullen concluded.