Community health teams staff shortages ‘completely unacceptable’ says Rabbitte

It is “completely unacceptable” that only four of 25 community health teams in the Galway/Mayo/Roscommon region, have a full staff allocation, according to Fianna Fáil Galway East TD and spokesperson on children and youth affairs, Anne Rabbitte.

At the recent Oireachtas Mental Health Committee meeting, Dep Rabbitte questioned Tony Canavan, the chief officer of the Community Healthcare Organisation for Galway/Mayo/Roscommon, who confirmed there were serious staff shortages across the region. Dep Rabbitte said: “This not only increases pressure on the staff working within the service, it also leads to long waiting times and delays for service users. It’s simply not good enough.”

The Portumna TD has called for “a dedicated recruitment campaign” to increase staff levels across all teams not meeting their staffing targets. She has also called for investment in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services to be made “a matter of priority”. She said she was “horrified” to learn that there were only 18 in-patient beds at Merlin Park to cater for children and young people from Donegal to Tipperary – nine counties in all. However the HSE argued that there were enough beds to cater for demand and claimed that services were available in the community.

However Dep Rabbitte said the community health teams were “not being given the necessary resources” and she accused the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, of continuing “to ignore the huge staffing shortfalls” in these areas, and urged them to “ensure staffing issues are addressed without delay”.

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