Tuesday 21 November 2017

Regulation of community mental health facilities needed, says watchdog

John Saunders, Chairman of the Mental Health Commission.
John Saunders, Chairman of the Mental Health Commission.
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The failure to regulate residential facilities which are now home to patients who were previously in psychiatric units has been highlighted by the country’s mental health watchdog.

The Mental Health Commission said that these community residences have become too large by accommodating too many people, creating a number of ‘mini-institutions’.

“Very often these facilities have poor physical infrastructure and are institutional in nature.

“There are also concerns relating to service provision and a lack of patient-centred thinking,” the watchdog said in a statement.

“Community residences are not regulated. While the Commission has the authority to inspect them, it does not have enforcement powers and cannot close facilities, if necessary."

The statement follows the recent publication of a critical report into Roscommon mental health services.

John Saunders, Chairman of the Mental Health Commission, said: “These residences are not regulated and yet they provide care to a large number of vulnerable people with mental illness.

“The Commission is today calling on the Government to prioritise regulation in this area by giving regulatory and enforcement powers to the Commission.”

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