THE mental health reform study, published in July 2017, found that two-thirds of mental health patients did not know how to make a complaint and many were not confident enough to advocate for themselves, Fianna Fáil Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony told the Dáil.
‘These findings are worrying,’ she said. ‘Access to information for patients, especially those detained involuntarily, is of paramount importance. These people have enough going on besides being unable to access information.’
The lack of such services essentially renders patients’ rights worthless, she said. ‘Recent figures, however, stated the HSE spend on agency staff in mental health has increased by €38m in four years.
‘This is not sustainable. If this stopgap approach were addressed, it would ultimately free up money to ensure the advocacy service that these patients so desperately need would be available. In addition, continuity of service is what these patients need, not the inconsistency of roll-over staff. A little joined-up thinking and a little bit of common sense is what is needed.’