Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy says the external review into Roscommon mental health services must not be used as a beating stick to downgrade existing services.
Commenting on the review, which commenced in August 2015 Eugene Murphy stressed that repeated delays in the delivery of the report were simply not acceptable and he noted that the new deadline of early March for completion of the report must be adhered to. Deputy Murphy tabled a number of parliamentary questions with the Minister for Mental Health Helen McEntee in early February in relation to the publication of the external review and it was announced by the HSE this week that the review would be available in early March.
“I tabled a PQ at the beginning of February querying why there has been such a significant delay in the publication of the external review into mental health services in County Roscommon as the report was commissioned over a year and a half ago and the services are in crisis mode without a clear service plan.
“The lead investigator in the independent review into the Roscommon Mental Health Service has indicated that the report will be delivered to the HSE in early March.
The HSE indicated that they raised the issue of delay with the investigation team on a number of occasions. The investigators said that due to the large number of interested parties and the fact many have relocated or retired the interviewing process and the due process following this have been elongated.
The HSE also stated that the lead investigators have communicated that the complexity of ensuring that natural justice is afforded to all interested parties has also meant the repeated involvement of their legal advisers adding to the timeline.
This March deadline must be adhered to- the people of Roscommon have waited long enough for this external review- I expect this independent report to be negative and highly critical of the services as it is clear mental health services in Roscommon are in a crisis mode but I don’t want to see this report being used as a beating stick to justify downgrading services- rather it should be used as proof for an upgrading of a service in crisis.
“We also need to have full time psychiatrist posts made available in County Roscommon as there are currently only locum psychiatrists providing a disjointed service which is impacting negatively on patients and staff. Minister McEntee also needs to provide additional acute psychiatric beds in Roscommon County Hospital as they are operating at maximum capacity and I hope all of these issues will be addressed in the external review,” concluded Deputy Murphy.