MHC report reveals people with severe mental illness are being denied access to essential services16 May 2019
Findings from a report published on May 16th, 2019 by the Mental Health Commission has revealed that people with severe mental illness in Ireland are being denied access to essential physical healthcare services, which constitutes a “breach of human rights”. These essential services include physiotherapy, dietetics, speech and language therapy, and seating assessments.
This report titled ‘Physical Health of People with Severe Mental Illness’ is authored by the Inspector of Mental Health Services, Dr Susan Finnerty and focuses on the physical healthcare and access to essential healthcare for people in long-term care in mental health in-patient units.
“This is utterly unacceptable and a breach of human rights. I found a significant number of residents who had been assessed as needing these services but had no access to them” says Dr Susan Finnerty.
The report also found that physical health monitoring for people with severe mental illness fell below international best practice standards. These findings are of serious concern and show that residents in long-term care in mental health in-patient units are not adequately monitored for serious physical illness which they have a higher risk of developing than the general population. Findings of Dr Finnerty’s report were also particularly concerning as many of those who live or reside in continuing care mental health units are vulnerable, elderly, have poor communication abilities and are at high risk of cardiac disease and metabolic syndrome.
The Chief Executive of the Mental Health Commission, Mr John Farrelly, has said that the findings of the Inspector raise safety and quality issues in relation to the physical healthcare provided to people suffering from severe mental illness and demonstrates a blatant disregard for the welfare of some of the most vulnerable members of our society.”
The Mental Health Commission has written to the HSE seeking an action plan to address the concerns raised in the report.
To read the full report click here.