Tuesday, February 23, 2021

THE Health Service Executive has welcomed the Mental Health Commission’s (MHC) Annual Inspection Reports regarding Department of Psychiatry (DOP) and acute inpatient mental health facilities in South East.

Previously reported by the Waterford News & Star online and this week’s print edition (see Page 11), the MHC recorded 86 per cent compliance to all regulations at the DOP in University Hospital Waterford (UHW). The DOP unit at St Luke’s General Hospital in Kilkenny reported a 94 per cent grading.

These inspections yielded respective increases of 29 and 21 per cent for both 44-bed DOPs when compared to the 2019 MHC inspections.

“Patient care remains a priority focus for South East Community Healthcare (SECH), throughout all the components of our service delivery,” said David Heffernan, SECH’s Head of Service/Mental Health.

“We strive at all times to adhere to the rules and regulations relating to provision of mental health services. We continue to work closely with the Mental Health Commission to ensure that the DoPs in Waterford and Kilkenny comply with applicable guidelines.”

Mr Heffernan continued:  “We always welcome observations made by the Mental Health Commission, including when they outline challenges for our services – as would have been the case previously in regard to the DoPs in Waterford and Kilkenny.”

“Our dedicated staff, in both instances and during both non-Covid times and the difficult environment applicable since the declaration of the pandemic in March of last year, are very committed to the provision of a quality and safe mental health service to the population we serve. Consequently, it is heartening to see the highlighting of references in both these Reports to ‘safe and dignified care in a clean environment’. That is our aim at all times.”

Mr Heffernan said efforts to “ensure compliance and the delivery of the best possible service within available resources” remained steadfast despite the difficulties of the past year.

“These findings are a tribute to all concerned,” he said. “Working with my colleague the Chief Officer of SECH, Kate Killeen White, and our diligent cohorts of mental health staff across community, residential support and inpatient settings, I look forward to continuing to meet the expectations set for us by the Mental Health Commission.”

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