Overcrowding at University Hospital Waterford has been described as unacceptable after photographs emerged this week of dire conditions in the psychiatric unit.
Patients were seen lying on the floor and on chairs pushed together as makeshift beds.
Chief Officer with South East Community Healthcare, Kate Killeen White, was forced to apologise to affected patients. She admitted the conditions were indefensible. “Staff are doing all they can” to provide safe care for people, she said.
Sinn Féin TD for Waterford David Cullinane has said he is “shocked, but sadly not surprised” by the photos.
“I am utterly shocked by the photos that have emerged of the intolerable conditions of the psychiatric unit in Waterford, of beds made from chairs while other patients sleep on floors,” he said.
He highlighted a recent report on the unit which said residents did not have access to a supply of appropriate emergency personal clothing, and that the centre was dirty, unhygienic and foul-smelling.
The report also outlined serious concerns with children being admitted to adult units, physical examinations, staffing issues and the use of physical restraints.
“Words are one thing; we now have photographic evidence revealing a unit that is operating under conditions that would make a Victorian workhouse blush,” said Mr Cullinane.
“The staff are not to blame here; they are operating under incredible stress and distress. Both the Minister and the HSE know that is about funding and resources. Yet, despite this, they refuse to do anything about it.”