1 April 2019
By Bryan Smyth
A Cork employee of Ireland’s mental health regulator is encouraging people from across the county to attend a special open forum event in The Metropole Hotel on Tuesday, April 2nd, to discuss the future regulation of Ireland’s mental health services.
Bantry native, Brian O’Sullivan, who works in the Standards and Quality Assurance division of the Mental Health Commission, says the event will provide those interested in the area with an opportunity to meet with and engage with the regulator of the service mental health services.
“This event is open to all those who would like to meet some of the people who run the Mental Health Commission, hear their plans for the next four years, and engage with them about local or national issues,” said Mr. O’Sullivan. “It’s a chance to hear what the Commission does, and what it is responsible for regulating.”
The Commission issued a stark warning recently to providers of mental health services that where standards are not acceptable and human rights are not being upheld, they will intervene ‘using all powers necessary’.
As part of the event, the Commission will outline their 2019-2022 Strategy, ‘Protecting People’s Rights’, which sets a course over the next four years to realise their vision of an Ireland with the highest quality mental health and decision support services underpinned by a person’s human rights.
Commission Chairman, John Saunders, said the body had been undertaking a process of transformation since early 2018, which has included the development of a new vision, a mission statement, and a comprehensive and wide-ranging consultation process that ultimately led to the new strategic plan.
“The strategy consultation clearly evidenced a desire for the commission to promote high standards and work with and support all stakeholders who wish to create improvement,” said Mr. Saunders. “However, where standards are not acceptable and human rights are not upheld, people are clear that the Commission should intervene, using all powers necessary.
“Individual’s human rights will be at the heart of our work and functions over the next four years. We will work with Government to strengthen the regulatory infrastructure, which vindicates people’s rights, and we will ensure compliance with the law through proportionate risk-based regulation, monitoring and supports. The present Commission is adopting a low tolerance level of non-compliance.”
Commission Chief Executive, John Farrelly, said that the priorities set out in the strategy enhance the Commission’s core role as the regulator for mental health services, while raising awareness of the body’s fundamental purpose of protecting people’s rights.
“The Mental Health Commission has a role under law “to promote, encourage and foster the establishment and maintenance of high standards and good practices in the delivery of mental health services”. In fulfilling this role, we will continue to work with the services that put the person first, while also targeting low-quality services and using our powers to intervene and reform these services without fear or favour.”
The forum will also provide an opportunity to discuss the particular challenge of establishing a best-in-class Decision Support Service (DSS), under the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 a new function within the Commission that will maximise autonomy for all relevant persons requiring support to make decisions about their personal welfare, property and financial affairs.
The Mental Health Commission ‘open forum’ will take place from 7pm in The Cockburn Room in The Metropole Hotel on Tuesday, April 2nd. Those interested in attending the event can contact Siobhan Bigley in the Mental Health Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org