THE mental health inpatient unit at Bantry General Hospital is not considered suitable as a modern mental health facility due to its small size, cramped conditions, and lack of personal space.
That is a finding of an inspection report by the Mental Health Commission (MHC) into the Centre for Mental Health Care & Recovery, a three-storey structure comprising 18 beds, in the grounds of the West Cork hospital.
The centre achieved 88% compliance on the inspection – the same score as its 2019 inspection. There were no conditions attached to the registration of the centre at the time of inspection, and the centre received three high risk non-compliances, and one low risk non-compliance.
At the time of inspection the centre was non-compliant for the regulation on premises and the MHC applied a high risk rating because: not all identified ligature points had been minimised; communal rooms were not sized to meet the needs of the residents; four-bedded dormitory bedrooms were cramped and did not adequately address resident needs; and some residents did not have toilet facilities located near to their bedrooms and had to walk down a corridor to access them.
The centre was non-compliant for the regulation on privacy and the MHC applied a high-risk rating as some ward rounds (where confidential resident information was discussed) took place in a public area, which compromised residents’ privacy and dignity.
The centre was also non-compliant with consent to treatment and this was rated high risk as the written record of consent did not indicate that the consultant psychiatrist had undertaken a capacity assessment of the patient prior to gaining consent to treatment.
This report was one of three published by the MHC. The others were for facilities in Dublin and Kerry.
‘Finding mental health premises “in a poor state of repair internally” is not acceptable in a modern health service,’ said John Farrelly, chief executive of the MHC. Dr Susan Finnerty, said she was concerned by high risk non-compliances in two centres for the regulation relating to consent for treatment under the Mental Health Act.
‘Consent to treatment is extremely important for patients and is a cornerstone of our mental health services. All patients have the right to be involved in decisions about their treatment and should be supported to make informed decisions if they are able.’