THE future of the mental health unit at Bantry General Hopsital remains uncertain following Taoiseach Micheál Martin's failure to provide a firm commitment on funding for the needs of the facility going forward, according to Independent TD for Cork Sout-West, Michael Collins.
A recent report from the Mental Health Commission has recommended the reduction of beds at Bantry’s Centre for Mental Health Care and Recovery from 18 to 11 amid concerns around a lack of communal space and personal privacy.
The issue was raised in the Dáil yesterday by Goleen TD Collins, who said in a statement that although these issues have been raised for the past three years, there was 'still no meaningful commitment from the Government in terms of ring-fenced funding for the unit and the preservation of its existing service provision.'
In addition to this, deputy Collins said that the Taoiseach could 'only speak in generalities' when it came to works beginning on the endoscopy and stroke units that have been earmarked for the hospital:
'The Taoiseach chose to dither, delay and deflect when I raised these critically important issues with him today,' he said.
'Indeed, when I called on him to provide the kind of specifics and concrete commitments that both the staff and the service users of Bantry Hospital need, he was unable to do so.
'Instead, he chose to defend the objectivity of the process through which the future 18 bed capacity at the mental health unit may be severely diminished.
'It was a robotic and bureaucratic response, and it was shameful,' he said.
'I have always insisted that Bantry General Hospital and the retention and expansion of the invaluable services that it provides are a core political priority for me,' he stated.
'Following today's weak response from the Taoiseach that commitment has been redoubled. I will not sit back and allow this Government or any Government to create doubts about the services at our critically important hospital.'