Press Release- For Immediate Release 25/06/14
Mental Health Reform says mental health service lack of compliance with regulations unacceptable
Mental Health Reform, the national coalition promoting improved mental health services, has today (25/06/2014) called on the Government and the HSE to ensure full compliance with the regulations for mental health services on foot of the publication of the Mental Health Commission’s annual report for 2013. The call comes as the Commission’s report highlights that mental health policy is ”being implemented unevenly and inconsistently across the country”.
Director of Mental Health Reform, Shari McDaid, commented: “Of the 31 regulations that inpatient units are required to meet, only three were met by all units fully. Compliance was found to be poor in relation to individual care plans, therapeutic services, premises and staffing. Progress in improving Ireland’s mental health services can be measured in terms of access to recovery-orientated services for all, yet less than half of inpatient units in 2013 were compliant with regulations on the provision of therapeutic services and programmes.”
“Despite the recent recruitment of new staff to community mental health services, only 44% of inpatient units were fully compliant with the regulations on staffing. These regulations represent the minimum standards of care accepted by the independent regulator, the Mental Health Commission. The regulations have been in place for seven years and it should not be considered acceptable to allow continued failure to comply with them. Mental Health Reform has noted and welcomed Minister of State for Mental Health Kathleen Lynch’s commitment to ensure that the expected €15 million not forthcoming in 2014 would be reinstated in 2015. A combination of additional resources from Government and managerial leadership within the HSE is needed to drive compliance with these basic standards of care,” continued Dr. McDaid.
“Of particular concern is the reduction in compliance with the regulation on complaints procedures. The ability of people who use mental health services to have access to an effective complaints procedure is an important aspect of the service accountability. The Inspector of Mental Health Services recently found that the quality of recording of complaints was poor in many inpatient units and that a significant proportion of them did not display information on how to make a complaint. The HSE needs to ensure that all mental health service users have access to its complaints procedure and that complaints are processed in accordance with good administrative practice,” continued Dr. McDaid.
“Age-appropriate services are key to ensuring good mental health among children and young people and it is unacceptable that children continued to be admitted to adult wards. 91 young people (22.3% of all child admissions) were admitted to adult wards last year, with six of these children being aged fifteen years of age or younger,” Dr McDaid added.
“It is of great concern to learn that the Mental Health Commission’s core activities are being put at risk because of the public service recruitment moratorium. Mental Health Reform calls on Government to ensure that the Mental Health Commission is adequately staffed to fulfil its functions, including multidisciplinary inspection and the promotion of good quality mental health services”, Dr McDaid concluded.