The Mental Health Commission (MHC) has entered proceedings against the HSE in relation to the alleged breach of a condition attached to the registration of an inpatient mental health centre in Glanmire, Co Cork.
Barrister Eoghan O’Sullivan, representing the MHC, told Cork District Court that the HSE allegedly breached a condition of its registration of St Stephen's Hospital by admitting a patient in to the acute centre in December of last year.
Mr O’Sullivan said that inspections at the centre over a number of years have highlighted issues of concern. He stated that a condition had been imposed on the registration prohibiting the registration of new patients in the acute centre.
However, Mr O’Sullivan told Judge Marian O’Leary that it is alleged that the HSE did allow a person to be transferred in to the acute centre in breach of registration conditions. He noted however, that there are some exceptions to the conditions.
A solicitor acting on behalf of the HSE, Katherine Kelleher, said that the matter is fully contested. She stressed that the patient was an exceptionally vulnerable person. She applied for a four-week adjournment of the case. Judge O’Leary granted the adjournment and listed the case for mention on November 16th next.
St Stephen’s Hospital has a total of 87 beds. It was originally built as a tuberculosis sanatorium in the 1950s and is located just north of the city in Glanmire.
In a statement following the hearing the Chief Executive of the MHC, John Farrelly, said that he was unable to comment further on this specific matter.
"(However) it is clear from recent inspection reports that there are significant issues in several inpatient mental health centres in the Cork region that need to be addressed.
"The reports indicate a need for the HSE to improve governance, management and oversight of investment in Cork, particularly when they have shown in other areas and in other counties a clear capability to wisely use the funds allocated to it by the State. In the interim, where we see significant breaches of conditions, the MHC is forced, under law, to use our enforcement powers, up to and including prosecution."