Roscommon mental health services ‘in crisis’

A High Court judge has described mental health services in Co Roscommon as in “a crisis situation”.
Roscommon mental health services ‘in crisis’

An interim report described the services as “dysfunctional” and carrying “unnecessary risk”, said Mr Justice Tony O’Connor.

He made the remarks when dismissing an action by senior HSE executive Helen Earley aimed at preventing her temporary move to an alleged lesser role.

While Ms Earley was never subject to any investigation or disciplinary process, the HSE sought to temporarily reassign her while a review was being conducted into allegations of sexual abuse and an alleged cover up at HSE mental health facilities in Roscommon.

Ms Earley claimed that her reputation would be damaged by such a move and sought to remain in her position as the HSE area director of nursing for Galway/ Roscommon Mental Health Service. Last July, she got an injunction preventing the HSE moving her pending the outcome of the hearing.

It was argued that, since July 2012, Ms Earley has overseen major changes, including implementing “tough cuts” and this resulted in a significant dispute with the Psychiatric Nurses Association. The reason for the move was to appease the union and the HSE had no contractual entitlement to transfer her to another role, she claimed.

The HSE argued it was entitled to reassign her temporarily pending the outcome of several investigations concerning facilities for which she had responsibility. The probes include a system analysis, a national review, and a screening process.

In his reserved judgment dismissing the action, Mr Justice O’Connor ruled no bad faith conspiracy or failure to recognise Ms Earley’s rights had been established. The decision to move her was not made with a view to investigate Ms Earley’s conduct or to starting disciplinary proceedings against her personally, he said.

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