Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow – Kilkenny Bobby Aylward has said more work needs to be done to ensure mental health services in Carlow and Kilkenny are fit for purpose. Deputy Aylward made the comments after the Mental Health Commission issued a frank assessment of mental health services in the region.

Deputy Aylward commented, “I welcome the report issued by the Mental Health Commission regarding the provision of mental health services in Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary. The report arose after a number of people under the care of mental health services in the area died in tragic circumstances. It is of paramount importance that we understand why these deaths occurred and how we can prevent such a situation from arising again.

“The report offers a frank assessment of mental health services in the area. The fact that it found clinicians might have been alerted to the risk of patient suicide if adequate assessments had been carried out is extremely alarming. The report also concluded that the necessary training for risk assessment was insufficient or had not been applied correctly.

“The findings of this report, which highlight the urgent need for improvement to certain aspects of mental health services in the region, will come as distressing news to the many families and friends of service users in Carlow and Kilkenny.

“People’s confidence in our mental health services has been shaken in recent years, but now the Government has the opportunity to build on the recommendations in this report to ensure that our services are fit for purpose at all times. The Mental Health Commission originally issued 19 recommendations to overcome difficulties experienced in the region. So far 12 of these recommendations have been implemented with the implementation of the remaining 7 underway.

“I have written to Minister Lynch today on foot of this latest report to request a firm assurance that the improvements cited in the report to date are maintained, and that the remaining recommendations are implemented without delay. Every effort must be made to improve the mental health services in our area and to ensure these improvements are maintained.”