Children in adult mental health facilities due to shortage of beds

University Hospital Limerick.

Children continue to be admitted to adult mental health units because of a shortage of beds in child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).

The latest batch of inspection reports from the Mental Health Commission show children were admitted to the acute psychiatric unit at University Hospital Limerick; the Centre for Mental Health Care & Recovery, at Bantry General Hospital; Lakeview Unit, Naas General Hospital, Co Kildare, and the Ashlin Centre in Dublin.

None of these facilities has age appropriate facilities and are “not suitable for children”.

The Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Waterford, and Drogheda Department of Psychiatry, also admitted children.

The HSE plans to address this area of non compliance with mental health regulations said that children are only admitted “in extreme emergencies” when there is no dedicated CAMHS bed available.

The Inspector of Mental Health Services, Susan Finnerty, expressed serious concern in relation to patient safety at the Lakeview Unit in Naas, due to overcrowding.

Dr Finnerty said that management had identified it as “a serious operational and health and safety risk” and plans had been submitted and funding sought for extra capacity.

The community healthcare area in which Lakeview is based has the lowest number of mental health in-patient beds in Ireland at 19.6 per 100,000.

“It is evident that the above situation is not safe for residents,” said Dr Finnerty. She also expressed concern in relation to the use of electroconvulsive therapy.

There was no evidence that a discussion about the treatment took place with one resident and where appropriate, next of kin.

The layout and furnishing of the Limerick unit were described as “not conducive to resident privacy and dignity”.

One resident interviewed complained about a lack of privacy as there was no lock on the main female toilet, which was sometimes also used by male residents. One room in the psychiatry of old age area was dirty and smelled strongly of sewage.

During the inspection, four residents were observed sleeping in the open reception area because bedrooms were locked during the day, “which was not conducive to resident privacy and dignity”.

The unit was described as “not in a good state of repair, internally and externally”.

The head of service said a review was under way of overall management structures and that it was possible responsibility might change significantly.

More on this topic

Children’s Ombudsman: Young people have died by suicide because of Government’s ‘inaction’ on mental healthChildren’s Ombudsman: Young people have died by suicide because of Government’s ‘inaction’ on mental health

Government’s eyes glaze over at mention of Traveller mental health, senator saysGovernment’s eyes glaze over at mention of Traveller mental health, senator says

Caroline Flack opens up about her mental health strugglesCaroline Flack opens up about her mental health struggles

Admitting children to adult psychiatric units ‘common’Admitting children to adult psychiatric units ‘common’


Leopard print midi dresses and sequins swirled beneath glossy goddess hair and golden headbands as the great and the good of Cork gathered for ieStyle Live.Leopard print and sequins to the fore at inaugural #IEStyleLive event

You have a long half-term break ahead of you all, and there’s only so much screen time anyone in the family can handle. Everyone is going to need a book-break at some point or another.We reviewed some of the best new books to keep kids entertained over half-term

Sexual politics, snideput-downs and family rivalries are fuelling the trouble brewing in a small Midlands town.Charlie Murphy and Pat Shortt star in new Irish film 'Dark lies the Island'

Robert Hume tells of the eccentric MP for Athboy, Co. Meath – born 300 years ago this month – who thought he was a teapot, and was afraid his spout might break off.A strange brew of a man: The MP for Meath who believed he was a teapot

More From The Irish Examiner