Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health, Colm Keaveney TD, has called for a full audit of all deaths involving service users at state mental health facilities.

Deputy Keaveney was reacting to reports that only 25% of deaths in care at state mental health facilities follow statutory reporting guidelines.

He commented: “I am calling for an audit of all deaths involving service users in state psychiatric care over the last five years. A META analysis of the reporting of these deaths by the HSE and Mental Health Commission found that only 25% of deaths are reported in accordance with legislative requirements. This is clearly not good enough and we need answers as to why this is the case.

“As a state we are badly failing people with mental health problems that come to our institutions for help. There are no sanctions at present for health care staff that do not follow their statutory obligations to report deaths or serious incidences to the Mental Health Commission. Until we do so, more and more people will be lost in a system that is supposed to be there to protect them.

“This reinforces Fianna Fáil’s call for a National Mental Health Body to be established, which would serve a similar role to the National Roads Authority. This single authority would help engineer and drive change in the provision of mental health services.

“We need a champion for mental health services in Ireland, until we have one, our already overworked frontline mental health staff will be forced to provide more services with less resources, ultimately resulting in a poorer delivery of service.”