THE country’s psychiatric nurses have threatened strike action, because the sector is so very underfunded that it cannot easily recruit or retain staff. During the twilight days of the last government, there was a stand-off over proposals to divert a portion of the mental health budget.
These events paint a less-than-satisfactory picture of our commitment to providing decent mental health services, but yesterday’s publication of its 2015 report by the Mental Health Commission moves that critique onto an altogether different plane.
The report found that less than 10% of inspected mental health facilities met all legal requirements. Of 61 inspected centres, six were rated compliant and the remainder were non-compliant to varying degrees. Only one of the fully compliant centres was run by the HSE. Almost half of the facilities broke rules around seclusion. This means that patients were kept in seclusion in a way that could pose serious risk to their safety and well-being.
Apart, at all, from being an indictment of this society, the report, the threatened strike, and the skirmishing over resources at cabinet level are a huge worry for the families of those who depend on the sanctuary these centres are supposed to offer. However, they also suggest a failure of management, and underline the reality that those who cannot be sacked might be indifferent to the need for reform.
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