Security bill for psych patient tops €2m

The bill to the taxpayer of providing round-the-clock security for one psychiatric patient at one HSE-run unit now tops €2m.

At Tuesday’s HSE West Regional Forum meeting, the costs for 2013 of providing 24-hour security to the 41-year old man at the psychiatric unit in Ennis were revealed at €408,351.

However, last year was the sixth year that the man has spent at the acute psychiatric unit and with the costs topping €1,000 per day the security costs have now pushed the total costs to more than €2m.

The man has been cared for at the unit since July 2008 and the latest Mental Health Commission report on the 39-bed acute unit published earlier this month found the HSE to be in breach of regulations concerning the man’s care.

The commission found that the security personnel were assigned in the role of providing physical restraint to the man which was contrary to the unit’s own policy on physical restraint.

The commission also found the HSE to be in breach of regulations as it “did not provide any details of training of security personnel in physical restraint for residents of an approved centre”.

In its recommendations, the commission stated: “The role and function of the security personnel within the approved centre must be clarified.”

The costs for accommodating the patient have continued to mount with €376,750 spent on accommodation in 2011 and €366,625 in 2010.

The general secretary of the Psychiatric Nurses Association, Des Kavanagh said yesterday “it is a very sad case”.

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