The psychiatric unit at Tallaght Hospital is a “high risk” for children, an independent inspection has found.

A report published yesterday by the Mental Health Commission on five centres in Dublin, Clare, Sligo, Tipperary and Cork said there were eight “critical risk” failings, and 27 incidents of “high risk” to residents in the centres inspected.

“Safety is central to the provision of quality mental health services and finding eight critical risks and twenty seven high risk ratings is a matter of serious concern to the Commission,” Dr Susan Finnerty, Inspector of Mental Health Services, said.

“There has been repeated failure by some facilities to meet their legislative and care requirements.”

The Commission said the 52-bed acute psychiatric unit at Tallaght Hospital, Dublin, “had a high risk on admission of children”.

According to the report, serious questions were raised about the local unit because:

“Age-appropriate facilities and a programme of activities were not provided.

“Children did not have access to child advocacy services and in one case did not have access to en suite facilities, instead having to share a bathroom with adults.”

As well as this many patients had to wait weeks before individual care plans were drawn up and longer for reviews of their plans, the commission said.

Further commenting on the reports, Dr Finnerty said:

“The approved centres must provide individual care plans for residents.

“The care plan exists for each patient to assist with recovery and to facilitate the patient, the multi-disciplinary team, the family member or advocate, to work towards an agreed outcome and achievement of goals.”

The unit was also found to be dirty and not in a good state of repair as there were stained ceiling tiles, and wall covering was lifting off some walls.

The Commission said it was alerted to serious concerns in relation to cleanliness following the 2018 annual regulatory inspection and subsequently issued an Immediate Action Notice to address the concerns.

The report said:

“The centre provided corrective and preventative plans and the Commission will seek an update in three months to ensure the plans are being implemented. 

“Compliance in relation to individual care plan is monitored as part of the condition attached to registration. 

“The centre is required to provide monthly reports to the Commission to demonstrate compliance.”