Inspection found privacy issues at critical level at Kerry hospital's psychiatric unit

Inspection found privacy issues at critical level at Kerry hospital's psychiatric unit
File photo of Kerry University Hospital

Privacy issues at one mental health facility were deemed to be at a critical level by the Mental Health Commission, which noted that due to overcapacity, one patient was not seen by a doctor because the patient had no bed.

The finding was in relation to Sliabh Mis, a 34-bed acute psychiatric unit located in Kerry University Hospital in Tralee. The MHC inspection report noted a fall in compliance with regulations from 65% in 2018 to 58% this year, including seven high-risk shortcomings that included risk management, consent to treatment, use of physical restraint and admission of children.

The MHC said that 22 children were admitted to the approved centre since the last inspection and that although appropriate accommodation is designated and includes segregation according to age and gender, sleeping arrangements, and bathroom areas, the approved centre is an adult facility and so age-appropriate facilities and a programme of activities appropriate to age and ability were not provided.

Outlining breaches of human rights at the time of inspection, it said five beds were located in four-bedded rooms:

Due to the overcapacity, one patient was not seen by a doctor because the patient had no bed. The disrespect for residents’ privacy and dignity was also evidenced by the fact that residents were eating their meals at the bedside, in the cramped conditions, one with no bedside table.

Major works were ongoing and near completion at the time of inspection and while an immediate action notice was issued, there has since been significant improvement at the facility.

MHC inspectors also found issues at the Ashlin Centre in the grounds of Beaumont Hospital, with subsequent improvements in some areas, and at Avonmore & Glencree Units at Newcastle Hospital in Greystones, Co Wicklow, where inspectors noted that for one patient who had been detained in hospital for more than three months "there was no evidence that the patient had provided consent for the continuing administration of medication or if there had been a capacity assessment done to show that he/she had capacity or not to consent to treatment".

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