Councillor Michelle Hall.
Labour Councillor Michelle Hall has expressed her disappointment at the lack of additional mental health supports for Louth-Meath in the HSE’s Midland Louth-Meath Winter Plan and also its ability to recruit more carers.
The HSE plan includes more investment in additional home support hours, increased funding for the availability of aids and appliances and increased diagnostic access in the form of MRIs, X-rays and ultrasounds.
There will also be weekly integrated meetings with senior decision makers from Community and RCSI Hospital Group and Ireland East Hospital group with two additional clinical nurse specialists for infection prevention control. Home support workers will be upskilled to enable people to return to independence.
However, Councilllor Hall said; “At our November meeting of the Regional Health Forum for Dublin/North-East, the committee heard about welcome additional funding in many areas for the Winter Plan but there has been no extra investment for Mental Health services in County Louth.
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“Dublin North City and County has been the only district with additional services as they have been allocated 6 private acute inpatient bed to ameliorate any potential challenges. There is a clinical nurse specialist being recruited but there are currently challenges on recruiting nurses in the HSE.
“In October, the World Health Organisation requested governments to ‘massive scale-up investment in mental health’ due to increased anxiety levels due to the global pandemic. Spending in this area can see a fivefold return in improved health and productivity. I believe the HSE are missing a vital link by not directing their funding to this area.
“Recruitment of personnel was another concern that was expressed on delivering the 409,000 additional home support hours across all counties in Dublin/North-East.
“Currently there are 11 packages of care only partly filled in Louth-Meath, due to lack of carer availability. This means that we have vulnerable persons having to remain in hospital longer than they medically need to be.
“This is worrying especially as we come up to Christmas period, where we may see loved ones unable to return to their homes. There is also the concern that existing carers in the nursing home sector will be recruited for better paid jobs in the public sector. This may have a knock-on effect for service users in residential care settings.”
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