Irish state health inspectors have warned that many of Ireland's psychiatric wards may be closed as they are "unfit for human habitation.” Irish health inspectors have uncovered evidence of bad management and untrained medical staff administering electric shock therapy to patients in psychiatric wards around the country.
The results of the inspectors findings were revealed in a report by the Inspectorate of Mental Health Services. The Irish state caters for over 2,700 patients in its 63 psychiatric institutions.
Practically all of the bad reports were confined to Victorian era health wards that the authorities have been waiting to close for the last 20 years.
Inspectors reported seeing patients wandering "aimlessly" around St. Brendan's psychiatric ward in Dublin and were concerned that patients were been accommodated in "unsuitable" conditions.
Rather worryingly, inspectors discovered that children had been admitted into the adult psychiatric ward of the mid western regional hospital in County Limerick. Despite strict guidelines the inspectors found that such treatment was counter-productive for children suffering from mental illness. The inspectors also found that the Mater hospital in Dublin failed to meet electroconvulsive therapy standards.
The Cappahard Lodge in County Clare was found in serious breach of Irish state health standards. The inspectors found that patients were not given adequate care due to a lack of managerial and clinical leadership. The ward was found to have improved conditions three months after the initial inspection.
The findings are expected to be published in a report by the Irish Mental Health Commission early next year.
Minister of state John Moloney found the inspectors findings disturbing and unacceptable.
"I acknowledged that things are bad. I’ve spent the last 15 months going around the country and visiting many of these facilities. You can’t stand over some of them,” said Minister Moloney.
Minister Moloney said that $60 million in funding had been secured for psychiatric institutions in last months budget and hoped that general conditions would be improved.