Outdoor space at psychiatric unit ‘inadequate’ – watchdog

Many aspects of care of high standard, but concerns remain

The mental health watchdog has found the premises of the department of psychiatry at Roscommon Hospital to be non-compliant with regulations, with the outdoor space comprised of a small “rusting smoking shelter”.

  The Mental Health Commission last week released its report on the 22-bed unit, based on an unannounced inspection last October.

  While many aspects of care at the facility were deemed to be of a high standard, they found considerable fault with the premises, which was a maternity ward before being redeveloped as a psychiatric unit.

  The commission were highly critical of the ‘outdoor space’ for patients, describing it as “inadequate”.

  They said: “It was approximately 4m x 4m in size, comprised of a rusting smoking shelter and was surrounded by mental fencing.

  “Residents could only access the outdoor space when supervised. Residents had no access to a green area.”

  The premises was found to be non-compliant for three reasons.

  “There was inadequate seating in communal areas for the number of residents,” said the commission. “Outstanding ligature points were identified throughout the approved centre.

  “The outdoor space was inadequate in size and in poor condition.”

  While the Health Service Executive said that first two matters would be addressed in the next six months, they said upgrading the outdoor space would prove more difficult.

  “This is a significant capital project which will be proactively pursued, but may take some time,” the HSE told the commission. 

  They said that funding for the ‘capital works’ had yet to be acquired.

  In its inspection report, the commission did, however, note that plans were in place to update the outdoor space and that an architect had visited the department the day before last October’s inspection.