Denial of Water to Mental Health Patients Deeply Disturbing


27th August, 2018


Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe a member of the Oireachtas Mental Health Committee has described the findings of recently published reports on conditions experienced by some patients in Irish mental health facilities, as “deeply disturbing”. Crowe was commenting on reports from the Mental Health Commission that patients were denied access to water in more than one facility.

The Mental Health Commissions inspections cover food and nutrition, recreational activities, therapeutic services and programmes, general health, privacy, premises, staffing, risk management, use of physical restraint, code of practice for admission transfer and discharge to and from approved centres and are marked for compliance or noncompliance.

Deputy Seán Crowe said;


“The principal functions of the Mental Health Commission are to promote, encourage and foster the establishment and maintenance of high standards and good practices in the delivery of mental health services and to take all reasonable steps to protect the interests of persons detained in approved centres and determines the level of compliance or non-compliance of approved centres against the statutory regulations of the Mental Health Act 2001

“It would appear from these latest reports that the rights of patients continue to be violated and denied within many our mental health services and institutions. Some of these issues relate to bad legislation, bad policy or individual misconduct – but none of them are acceptable and every effort must be made to eradicate these practices.

“This year’s Mental Health Commission has reported on a number of violations at different hospitals.

“The violations at facilities in Mayo and in Kerry relate specifically to a denial of access to water.

“In Mayo it was reported that in one facility there was a difficulty for residents in accessing the water supply independently and having to rely on staff for this basic commodity.

“In a deeply disturbing report from Kerry the denial of water again featured and was supposedly an individual’s punishment for their challenging behaviour.

This is not acceptable and clearly bad practice.

“Caring for severely unwell people in often overcrowded and under staffed facilities is extremely hard work.

“Serious mental ill health can cause a range of risk factors and patients can  be a risk to themselves, but that is no excuse for putting expediency above care or allowing poor conditions to be mirrored by poor practice.

“The rights of patients in mental health care are paramount to building a world class system. Following this latest report we now need to positive actions being carried out to safeguard residents and measures taken to make certain that they are given the best of treatment regardless of their location or their ability to pay.”