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25/09/2021

'A tribute to all concerned': Mental Health facilities in Waterford praised by Mental Health Commission

The HSE has welcomed the publication of the Mental Health Commission’s 2021 Inspection Report, which for the second year running recorded a compliance rate of 86% at the Dept. of Psychiatry/acute inpatient mental health facility serving the Waterford/Wexford area.

The Mental Health Commission (MHC)’s report also praised the Dept. of Psychiatry (DoP) located on the grounds of University Hospital Waterford (UHW) for its wide range of quality initiatives and activities provided to residents.

In their 2020 report, compared to their previous year’s 2019 inspection, the comparative rise in compliance found by the MHC at the 44 bed unit at UHW (which serves the Waterford/Wexford catchment area) was 29%. The fact that this high standard was maintained in the 2021 MHC findings has been highlighted by HSE/South East Community Healthcare as an indication of its commitment to the ongoing provision of a quality and safe mental health service to the population it serves.

The DoP facility on the grounds of UHW in Waterford is in the remit of South East Community Healthcare, as a designated approved centre for acute mental inpatient services and where teams of professionals (including medical, specialist and other support staff) are in place to serve the needs of all those who require treatment and support.

The MHC report noted that the DoP had successfully completed, as the first of its kind in Ireland, a ‘Get Up Get Dressed Get Moving’ project to maintain the mobility of patients, residents and health service users and to guard against their deconditioning. In addition the MHC report also cited the “COVID Care Concerts” – a collaborative project involving the Psychology Dept. and where classical music was brought into the lives of vulnerable members of society and those often most affected by the impact of the pandemic. The Mobile Music Machine, partnered with the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival and supported by Creative Ireland, have performed live in the gardens of the DoP facility in Waterford.

The DoP’s Recreation and Recovery service was also the focus of more praise, as regards the development of “The Exchange” as a communications hub for residents. Following consultation with service users, the HSE’s Sparks Innovation Programme funding was secured by the Recreation and Recovery service for the installation of a traditional phone booth styled facility to enable residents to communicate in privacy with their families and friends.

Responding to the MHC’s findings, the Head of Service/Mental Health for HSE/South East Community Healthcare (SECH) David Heffernan said:

“The highlighting of activities in the DoP, such as the ‘Get Up Get Dressed Get Moving’ project, the ‘COVID Care Concerts’ and the simple but very valued little initiative that is the “The Exchange” are also an endorsement of the positive atmosphere we work hard to maintain at the DoP.”

“Patient care remains a priority focus for SECH, throughout all the components of our service delivery. We strive at all times to adhere to the rules and regulations relating to provision of mental health services. We continue to work closely with the Mental Health Commission to ensure that the DoP in Waterford complies with applicable guidelines.”

“Over the last year and a half, I am conscious that our quest to ensure compliance and the delivery of the best possible services within available resources occurred during what was a difficult period for our service users, our own staff and their families in both cases. These latest MCH findings are a tribute to all concerned", added Mr. Heffernan.

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