Patients forced abroad for treatment

EIGHT people who suffer from intellectual disability and mental health issues are being sent outside the state by the health service because the treatment is not available here.

All are from the HSE South area — three from Cork and Kerry, two from Wexford and one each from Carlow/Kilkenny, Waterford and Tipperary.

The HSE South were unable to provide the cost of the treatment to the Irish Examiner last night.

It is understood that most are being treated to be in Britain.

This year’s Mental Health Commission report revealed that St Anne’s Service, Roscrea, contracted a psychiatrist from outside the state to review residents on psychotropic medication such as lithium.

Meanwhile, the commission is inquiring into the treatment of adults with a severe and profound intellectual disability at John Paul Centre, in Ballybane, Co Galway.

The residential service is managed by the Brothers of Charity and receives funding from the HSE.

Meanwhile, in north Dublin, St Joseph’s services were described as “poorly staffed” with posts in clinical psychology, social work and occupational therapy vacant for over a year.

In the report, the inspectors highlighted worries about “the use of restraint and detention, failure to provide therapeutic input apart from medication, failure to protect the privacy and dignity of residents.”

In Cork and Kerry, none of the residential centres are approved and aren’t being inspected.

The commission described them as “of concern” and warned that overall, the mental health service for the intellectually disabled was “struggling to meet the needs of its service users”.

The staff embargo was also seen as a significant barrier to service development.

Questions were also raised by inspectors about standards of care at units in Laois, Offaly, Westmeath and Longford.


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