‘Lethargic response’ to repair requests at high dependency unit

Mental health facility operated by HSE in breach of regulations

Requests for essential maintenance – including repairs to windows – at a mental health unit for vulnerable adults, were met with ‘lengthy and lethargic’ responses, according to staff.

The 28-bed facility for adults at Mayo University Hospital was visited by inspectors from the Mental Health Commission last October.

During the visit, the MHC team found that there was no programme of ‘general maintenance, decorative maintenance, decontamination, and repair of assistive equipment’ at the psychiatric unit.

This was in breach of the watchdog’s regulations, which state that approved centres are required to ‘implement a programme of maintenance to ensure the premises are safe and meet the needs of the resident group’.

MHC inspectors were also told by centre staff that, the impact of Covid-19 notwithstanding, the response to many maintenance requests was usually ‘lengthy and lethargic’.

It was also noted that there were frustrations regarding communications between maintenance and Mayo Mental Health Services.

“Despite this, some progress was made with upgrades to the high dependency unit which were in train at the last inspection and had been completed,” the MHC inspection report published today stated (April 20).

“A supply of new beds as well as new supportive armchairs, had also been provided and some painting had also been undertaken.”

The MHC attaches conditions to the centres it regulates to ensure that the safety and quality of care provided to the residents were maintained, the watchdog’s Inspector of Mental Health Services, Dr Susan Finnerty, explained.

“All centres must be consistently maintained in a good state of repair and any identified maintenance issues must be carried out in a timely manner,” she added.

“We treat any contravention of a condition of registration very seriously and we have a range of enforcement actions we take to address the breach immediately.”

Centre proprietor, the Health Service Executive, has been contacted for a response.

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