‘Lack of control measures’ for dealing with violence among mental health patients

There are not sufficient measures in place for dealing with violence and aggression among mental health patients in counties Roscommon and Galway, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has said.

  HSA inspector Bernadette Gannon gave that warning during a presentation to the Health Service Executive’s mental health area management team for the two counties at Merlin Park Hospital, Galway, on November 25 last.

  The minutes of the meeting, released under the Freedom of Information Act, note: “Bernadette highlighted one of her main concerns within mental health was the lack of control measures that are in place for violence and agression, including risk assessment and training.”

  In response, John Meehan, the area manager for Galway Roscommon Mental Health Service, acknowledged the “responsibility for staff” on this issue, and said that a health and safety committee had been established.

  Eamon Hannan, the chairman of the committee, told the meeting that “training in violence and aggression is deemed a priority”.

  He said that the HSE were currently recruiting for a clinical nurse manager who would “lead out specifically on this training”.

  He said that the terms of reference for the health and safety committee were agreed last September. It was agreed that they would meet six times a year.

  It was also noted at the meeting that it was projected that the HSE would overspend by €800,000 its budget for running the Galway Roscommon Mental Health Service (GRMHS) in 2015. The budget was €63.72 million.

  The budget deficit was mainly because of an “overspend in nursing”, Mr Meehan, the area manager, said.