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Mental Health Commission expresses concern over security staff

In March, the board of the MHC discussed recent findings made by its Inspectorate into the role played by security staff in these units.

A recent Inspectorate report into Avonmore and Glencree Units, Newcastle Hospital in Greystones in Wicklow, found security staff who did not have access to resident care and treatment plans were used in the physical restraint of two residents, as evidenced by the inspection of clinical practice forms completed on the Glencree unit.

The approved centre was non-compliant with the code of practice on the use of physical restraint, whereby “staff involved in the use of restraint should be aware of and have considered any relevant entries in the resident’s care and treatment plan, pertaining to his or her specific requirements/needs in relation to the use of physical restraint”.

Members of the MHC were told that the issue was discussed during a recent meeting with the HSE.

It was reported that meetings had been arranged in mental health services with a view to establishing a national HSE policy directive in relation to the use of security staff.

The HSE reviewed and updated its policy on the management of work-related aggression and violence, which was published last month.

The policy contains a number of references to the role security staff should play in the management of such incidents.

“While it is accepted that the provision of health services can involve situational conflicts, this recognition should not be equated with considering any form of aggression and/or violence as being inherent, inevitable or acceptable,” according to the policy.

“The aim of the policy is to bring about a reduction of any foreseeable risks by ensuring that resources are available for the provision of risk assessment and for appropriate education in the management of aggression and violence. In addition, the aim is to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to provide safe systems of work in relation to the risk of aggression and violence. Where a risk is identified and assessed, the HSE is committed to making considered decisions around providing staff with a safe working environment, while continuing to deliver services to service users.”

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