Sinn Fein Councillor Conor D. McGuinness has described the recently published Mental Health commission reports as a powerful indictment of a system that fails to meet the needs of patients or to protect their rights.
“The Mental Health Commission launched its annual Report for 2018 last week, which found a ‘significant government and management deficit’ within Irish mental health services and pointed to a lack of resources which is affecting patients and their outcomes. The report finds that most mental health centres inspected are struggling to ensure they are have enough staff to operate safely.
“Only 9% of units are compliant with staffing requirements, with many depending in expensive agency staff to cover gaps. This has a negative impact on continuity of care for patients. The report finds that a lack of staff in specialised roles like Occupational Therapy contributes to ‘isolation, institutionalisation, boredom and challenging behaviour’. In the context of understaffing this is putting additional pressure on those working in mental health units and centres.
“Mental Health services in the South East are functioning at 60% capacity when it comes to rehabilitation and recovery teams and the report identifies the South East as having the lowest level of overall compliance of all regions covered in the report. St. Otteran’s Hospital is amongst the bottom five in terms of compliance and Waterford Department of Psychiatry saw a 4% decrease in its compliance level on 2017.
“These problems will not be solved overnight. We need to see greater investment in services and an end to the recruitment and retention crisis that is besetting every part of our health service. A functioning mental health service needs to be a political priority at every level of Government in the state.”