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External review paints an horrific picture of Roscommon Mental Health Services

Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy has said that he is utterly appalled by the findings of the external review into mental health services in County Roscommon which paints a damning indictment of a service in crisis mode.

Deputy Murphy was speaking today following a special Oireachtas briefing with Roscommon HSE Forum members and Tony Canavan, Chief Officer CHO2 which took place in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon to discuss the Roscommon Review Report.

Deputy Murphy pointed out that this external review had commenced in August 2015 and was only finally delivered this week over two years later following delay after delay.

Reacting to the 43 page comprehensive document which contains a total of 27 key recommendations, Deputy Murphy said: “While I was not expecting this external review to be in any way positive I was still nevertheless utterly shocked and horrified by the findings of the team. While I have not had time to read the 43 page document in detail what I have read at this initial stage quite simply beggars belief.

"Leadership was found to be ineffective and there was a ‘disproportionate focus’ on ‘achieving budgetary savings at the cost of an adequately staffed and safe service.’- To put it simply they were more interested in saving money than putting a focus on patient care and safety and it is outrageous!”.

The Fianna Fáil TD also noted that the review had highlighted the fact that despite trying to implement the changes required in a Vision for Change the Roscommon mental health services had returned over €11million to the HSE in funding between 2012 and 2014.

“It is absolutely shocking to learn that in 2012 a sum of €4.57 million funding was returned to the HSE while in 2013 a sum of €6.91m was returned and in 2014 some €6.19m was returned- and all of this funding was returned at a time when mental health services in County Roscommon were crying out for funding,” said Deputy Murphy.

Deputy Murphy said that some 60 staff had been interviewed as part of the external review and it was important to point out that some staff were keen to modernise and were focused on patient care. “ However there are some key phrases in the review which struck me including the damning indictment that the ‘culture of Roscommon Mental Health Services was one where innovative and drive was stifled’ and the fact that the services were ‘maintained by control, negativity and a culture of blame’.

"Other findings by the review indicate that some senior staff ‘normalised bad behaviour’ while ‘others perpetuated it’- I could go on and go- it is a litany of appalling and horrific findings and clearly indicates that a complete and utter overhaul of Roscommon Mental Health services is now long overdue and from what I have initially read of the recommendations they need to be implemented without further delay,” concluded Deputy Murphy.

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