Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health, Jim Daly, to escalate measures aimed at providing residential psychiatric beds in County Tipperary. Deputy McGrath was speaking after a Report on St Luke’s Psychiatric facility in Kilkenny revealed a litany of appalling hygiene and service provision failures:
“This Report by Inspectors from the Mental Health Commission is an indictment of the scandalous lack of care for mental health patients and those in psychiatric distress in Co. Tipperary.
We now have official confirmation that the level and standard of care being provided at St Luke’s is grossly inadequate in terms of the overwhelming need that currently exists.
The fact that that the Inspectors were almost physically sick from the smell of a discarded colostomy bag which had been left in a clinical waste bin inside the room where electric shock treatment is administered is quite frankly disgusting and deeply offensive to the dignity of all patients.
In light of such clear dereliction of duty, I was satisfied to see that the HSE pleaded guilty at Kilkenny District Court to the charges brought against it by the Mental Health Commission and that Judge Brian O’Shea fined the HSE a total of €5,200.
However, while this should be a wake-up call to the HSE, the fact remains that it will do nothing to provide a single bed in Co. Tipperary if the Minister and the HSE do not get their act together and prioritise the restoration of psychiatric beds.
We know that when St Michael’s in Clonmel was closed, Kilkenny was already operating in excess of its capacity. This Report is damning evidence of what that has meant in practice for the patients and families who rely on mental health services.
Change has to happen and it has to happen fast,” concluded Deputy McGrath.