Local Minister Denis Naughten has been informed by the HSE that it expects to be in a position to publish the independent review into the Roscommon mental health services in the coming weeks.
The review which was ordered in part due to serious concerns over the operation of Roscommon Mental Health services raised publicly by Denis Naughten on a number of occasions.
The independent external team from Northern Ireland sought submissions from the public last year as part of its review of the quality, safety, and governance of mental health services in the county.
Denis Naughten made a submission to the Chairman of the review team Mr Brendan Mullen, who also sought written submissions from those who used the service or those who support them.
In his submission Minister Naughten sought a fully independent evaluation of both acute and community mental health services in both County Roscommon and County Galway.
Denis Naughten stated: “The services in both counties are intrinsically linked and patients, particularly acutely ill patients, were pushed from one county to the other with little regard for their care requirements.
“Decisions taken on the operation of the service in County Galway directly impacted upon the service in County Roscommon. Therefore, I do not believe that it is fair to assess the Roscommon service in isolation from the service in County Galway.”
He was also critical of the care of ‘forensic’ patients (patients who have interacted with the justice system) pointing out that such patients should not be accommodated in acute psychiatric inpatient facilities such as those in Roscommon Hospital and Galway University Hospital.
“treat the illness”
Within the broader context of mental health policy Denis Naughten has been critical of the “geographic silos” used in the mental health services. “With physical illness, the first priority is to treat the illness, but with mental illness the first priority is to get your address and refer you on to that service for care; this has to change”.
“While some within the mental health services have been critical of my persistence on this issue, the fact is that the primary focus of any service should be on those who use it, and people deserve answers and assurances that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated. For that I make absolutely no apology” stated Denis Naughten.