Sunday 15 September 2019

Staff in Roscommon mental health services 'normalised' bad behaviour - report

Stock photo
Stock photo

Eilish O’Regan

Some staff in Roscommon mental health services “normalised” bad behaviour and others perpetrated it, a damning investigation has found.

The report was carried out following allegations of improper sexual contacts at a facility in the county.

There was a prime focus on cost cutting and this resulted in significant delays in appointing posts, particularly when staff left.

A recurring theme among interviewed staff was that when staffing issues were raised with senior management, nothing was done to address the underlying problem.

The review team said there was a serious issue with professional relationships among staff which led to widespread friction and tensions particularly between some senior managers and staff groupings.

The focus was on cost containment to the detriment of quality care, according to staff.

The review found allegations by a small number of staff of a malicious campaign of conspiracy by some of their colleagues during the inquiry process.

Some staff objected to working with other team members.

The majority of staff felt frustrated, disillusioned and unsupported within the multidisciplinary team setting.

The report was carried out for the Health Service Executive by experts from the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland.

Commenting on the report the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said it was a shocking indictment of management of the services and the extent to which these management failings had compromised the ability of nursing staff to deliver safe standards of care.

It said the finding that budgets were consistently underspent by millions of euro over a number of years highlighted the extent to which the management in Roscommon failed to understand the need for investment in services.

“The review  points out the impact on the delivery of services of  a litany of fractious and broken  relationships at management level.

“These hampered the effective delivery of services, but despite repeated warnings from PNA this dysfunctional management was allowed to perpetuate by the HSE. “

The union called for a fuller investigation into how the situation and criticised the delay in completing the review.

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