Gates replaced security guards to save €100k
THE Waterford psychiatric hospital at the centre of a fatal stabbing was catering for extra Wexford patients without major staffing increases and saved €100,000 by replacing security personnel with an electronic gate.
Two separate investigations are now underway by the gardai and Health Service Executive (HSE) into the fatal stabbing at St Otteran's Hospital in Waterford of long-term patient Maria O'Brien (53).
The Waterford native died from stab injuries while a second female patient, also from Waterford, suffered serious injuries. That woman is now in a stable condition at Waterford Regional Hospital in Ardkeen.
Waterford TD John Halligan (Ind), who lives near St Otteran's, has demanded a full investigation and clarification on budget, security and staff recruitment issues.
Mr Halligan said security personnel had been replaced by an electronic gate at St Otteran's last year - to the concern of both nurses and staff.
St Otteran's received no major staff increases to cope with the additiona patients - and saved €100,000 through using an electronic gate.
"We know there have been severe cuts in mental health services. There will have to be an investigation into how this happened," he said.