Critical risk breach of regulations found at two Merlin Park Mental Health units

Galway Daily news Plans submitted for community nursing unit at Merlin Park Hospital

Two Mental Health units connected to Merlin Park Hospital were found to have critical risk breaches of regulations according to a recent report.

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health unit at Merlin Park was found to be in breach of regulations governing risk management for patients and staff according to a report from the Mental Health Commission.

The report stated that the in-patient centre was “unable to ensure the safety of residents or staff” due to its layout.

It centred on the design of the seclusion unit, which put staff in danger in the event of an assault due to its confined space.

Also noted in the report was that the seclusion unit lacked adequate toilet and washing facilities, adding that they “were not furnished, maintained, and cleaned to ensure respect for resident dignity and privacy.”

However commenting on this unit Dr Susan Finnerty, Inspector of Mental Health Services for the Mental Health Commission said that while many of these types of units struggle with regulations, Merlin Park had the highest compliance rating of 88%.

She also noted that CAMHS (Galway) had the first national pilot advocacy group in the HSE for the young person.

“This enables the young person to voice their views and concerns, and explore their options and rights to enable them to make informed decisions.”

“These new initiatives are heartening as the patient is placed front and centre of the care they receive.”

Further breaches were noted at Woodview, a 21 bed unit on the hospital campus where the Commission found two areas of concern for its premises and storage and administration of medication.

It found that hygiene was not adequately maintained to support food safety requirements, with a deep clean needed in the kitchen facility.

The facility was also generally found to be in a poor state of repair with numerous broken light, rotting wood, non-functional fixtures and peeling paint.

Dr Finnerty said in relation to Woodview “There had been no significant improvement in compliance with regulations, rules and codes of practice over the past three years.”

She said that in 2016 the unit was 61% compliant, which climbed to 73% in 2017, before falling to 68% in 2018.

Action Notices were issued by the Commission in connection with both mental health units and worked with them closely to see their plans were implemented.