Shortage of mental health services on weekends is proving “very distressing” for Clare families.
Having questioned the extent of community psychiatric services available in February, Cllr Susan Crawford (GP) appealed to the March meeting of the Regional Health Forum to “clarify exactly” the services on offer.
New and existing services have been available “throughout all phases” of the pandemic, Maria Bridgeman stated in response. “The referral pathway to Mental Health Services remains the same with access through the GP. Emergency appointments are available for existing Service Users through their Community Mental Health Team”.
Mental health services in the Mid-West are delivered in the community “via our network of community mental health teams,” the Chief Officer of Mid West Community Healthcare outlined. “In Clare our Adult Community Mental Health Services are delivered through 4 sector community mental health teams, these are based in Ennis, Shannon, Kilrush and Lisdoonvarna”.
All four services are delivered by a multidisciplinary team including psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, occupational therapists, social workers and a team of nurses operating from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
“Access to acute services has remained the same through the Acute Psychiatric Units in Ennis and Limerick. Crisis services also continue to be available at the Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick for both existing and new service users and can be contacted on 061 301111 (24/7). Additional Crisis Services are available in Clare (087 7999857) and Tipperary (086 830 6663) until 3am,” Bridgeman concluded.
A lack of access to community mental health services in Co Clare at weekends “is proving very distressing for patients with acute need,” Cllr Crawford commented. She believed acute general hospital settings were not appropriate for individuals with an acute need. “The treatment there has proven unsatisfactory to say the least,” the Inagh native added.