Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has said that decades of underinvestment in the upkeep of inpatient mental health facilities by successive governments have led to a dramatic decline in facilities meeting minimum standards.
Speaking following the release of the Mental Health Commission’s annual report, Deputy Ward added that the HSE must properly invest in these mental health facilities and prioritise individual care planning.
Teachta Ward said:
“The Mental Health Commission annual report made several worrying findings, particularly regarding the inspection of approved inpatient centres, individual care planning, risk management and staffing.
“These four areas had compliance levels of less than 70%.
“The Chief Executive of the Mental Health Commission, John Farrelly has described this as ‘simply unacceptable’.
“Decades of underinvestment in the upkeep of inpatient mental health facilities by successive governments are coming home to roost.
“These centres may lose their status as an approved centre if they do not comply and improve.
“If that happens, centres could close and whole communities could be impacted as we have seen recently with the threat of closure of the Owenacurra Centre in Cork.
“Only 27% of centres were compliant with regulations for premises, with others being described as ‘not fit for purpose’ by Mr Farrelly.
“This is a damning indictment on how successive governments view mental health care.
“Individuals in inpatient facilities deserve to have modern secure places to live. That is the minimum standard to expect.
“They also deserve proper treatment plans for their care.
“Over 30% of centres were non-compliant with the regulation around care plans for individuals. This is not good enough.
“Individualised care plans are central to the patients care and the report stated that in some cases the individual was not involved or had any input into their own care plan.
“Dr Susan Finnerty, the Inspector of Mental Health Services, has also called out the fact that larger centres are filled to capacity and that appropriately sized supported residences are not being sought.
“We have a dark history of institutionalising vulnerable people, and we cannot return to this.
“This report by the Mental Health Commission must be a blueprint of where there are shortcomings in mental health care – the government and the HSE must act immediately to bring services up to standard.
“With the publication of this report, the government has been warned and cannot say that they are unaware.”