Critical And High-Risk Non-Compliancy Issues Identified At Mental Health Centres

Two critical and nine high-risk areas of non-compliance have been identified at two mental health centres in Dublin and Laois, the Mental Health Commission (MHC) has reported.

According to the MHC both approved centres received critical risk ratings; one for use of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) and the other for individual care planning.

The centres are the Department of Psychiatry at the Midland Regional Hospital and The Acute Psychiatric Unit at Tallaght Hospital.

Commenting on the reports, Dr Susan Finnerty, Inspector of Mental Health Services, said: "Having a critical risk rating is a very serious finding by the Inspectors. Both approved centres received critical risk ratings; one for use of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) and the other for individual care planning. There are very strict rules governing the use of ECT. While ECT can be effective evidence based treatment for some severe and persistent mental illnesses, a programme of ECT shall not be administered to a patient unless the patient gives his or her consent in writing if deemed to be capable of consenting."

The Department of Psychiatry at the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise was found to have failed to obtain written consent from a patient for two electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) sesssions.

It was also reported that the facility was non-compliant with the regulation therapeutic services and programmes, ligature points had not been minimised, and the interior of the centre was not kept in a good state of repair.

Separately, the Acute Psychiatric Unit at Tallaght Hospital received a critical risk rating for individual care planning.

The report found records were secure but not maintained and used in accordance with national guidelines, and seclusion facilities were not furnished, maintained, and cleaned to ensure respect for resident dignity and privacy.

Also commenting on the report, the Chief Executive of the Mental Health Commission, John Farrelly said: "There were nine admissions of children under the age of 18 years to the Department of Psychiatry, Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise, Admitting children to an adult acute unit is neither suitable or acceptable in our mental health services. Age-appropriate facilities and a programme of activities was not provided for these children. Access to CAMHS in-patient beds is a significant challenge. Waiting times for CAMHS remains unacceptably long. There had been a lack of investment in this area which has resulted in children and young people being admitted to adult psychiatric units. This practice has to cease and is not tolerable to the Mental Health Commission."

The full report can be read on the Mental Health Commission website.


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