Six-month reprieve for UK mental health facility caring for six Irish children

Six-month reprieve for UK mental health facility caring for six Irish children
St Andrew's in Northhampton. Picture: St Andrew's Healthcare

The potential closure of a UK adolescent mental health facility that cares for Irish children is being described as deeply worrying.

The St Andrew's Healthcare Adolescent Service in Northhampton is at risk of closure following a damning report into its practices by the UK Care Commission. The report deemed the unit "unsafe".

The issues identified by the commission included juveniles being held in isolation rooms without bedding or chairs, and discrepancies between written incident reports, staff recollection of incidents and images of those incidents captured on CCTV.

Six Irish children are currently at the facility.

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Mental Health James Browne, said the develolment was deeply worrying and highlighted the pressing need for more resources to treat these children in Ireland.

He said: "This needs to be addressed with some urgency. The care commission in the UK raised very real concerns about facilities where Irish children are being sent because we don't have the facilities here in Ireland.

"The HSE has to answer as to what supervision or monitoring are they putting in when they're sending our children to another country for care."

St Andrew's hospital expressed "deep regret" that it had "fallen below the standards we aim to uphold" and has temporarily closed its Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service to new admissions.

The Care Commission says it will inspect again in six months and if service and facilities have not improved it "will take action to begin the process of preventing the provider from operating the service".


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