Appalling treatment of mental health patients forced to live in squalid conditions - McFadden

Fine Gael Seanad spokesperson for Social and Family Affairs Nicky McFadden, has said findings by the Inspectorate of Mental Health Services that a number of psychiatric hospitals, including St Loman’s in Mullingar, are ‘unfit for human habitation’ are harrowing beyond belief.

“That St Loman's Hospital has been named as one of the facilities, in a report by the State’s mental health inspectors, that has two wards in ‘poor condition and unfit for human habitation and should be decommissioned as a matter of urgency’ is a cause for serious alarm. I am utterly dismayed and outraged to learn that other wards at the hospital were also found to be ‘dilapidated, desolate and depressing’.

“The most worrying and enraging aspect of this dreadful situation for the patients attending St Loman's, and indeed for their families, is the fact that the money received by the HSE for the sale of hospital lands, which was supposed to be reinvested to improve hospital services, has not been used as intended.

“It is incomprehensible that patients accessing mental health services are being forced to endure such substandard facilities. The Minister of State with responsibility for mental health, John Moloney’s acknowledgement that some hospitals are ‘unacceptable’ is a clear admission of his failure to address the needs of the most vulnerable by condemning them to this inadequate accommodation.

“I will continue to lobby and put pressure on Fianna Fáil, and in particular Minister Moloney, who when he visited St Loman's last year promised that monies raised by sale of lands would be used to benefit the mental health service in Longford/Westmeath, to do just that. It is imperative that every penny secured by the Minister in Budget 2010 is used to build or refurbish accommodation to an acceptable standard. The Minister wouldn’t allow his family to live in such deplorable conditions. He shouldn’t ask others to either.”

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