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Anderson shares Human Rights Commission concern over lack of personality disorders services in the North of Ireland

7 April, 2009 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Sinn Féin Human Rights spokesperson, Martina Anderson MLA (Foyle) has welcomed NIHRC Chief Commissioner Monica McWilliams comments on the lack of available personality disorder services here in the North.

Ms Anderson said:

“I share the Commission’s concerns. It is of great concern that because of the lack of priority here for the care of people who have been diagnosed with personality disorders and who require long-term residential care that in many cases they are sent to England for treatment. This imposes a severe burden on families who have to find the resources in order to maintain any semblance of family relationships with the patient. It would be a relatively few families who would have the financial resources to visit their loved ones on a regular basis. You don’t have to be a psychiatrist to know that regular family contact is essential for those with mental health conditions.

"While I welcome the launch of a personal disorder strategy, in order to ensure that individuals with a diagnosis of a personality disorder, who are often extremely vulnerable and have complex health and social care needs, are no longer excluded from mental health services but have equality of access to responsive, quality health care, they need protection in legislation.   

No longer can we tolerate that because of inadequate targeting of resources that individuals with personality disorders fall foul of  the law and end up in prison instead of admission to mental health care units.

“It is therefore, incumbent on the Health Minister that he brings forward legislation as a matter of urgency to address these issues. The present situation calls into question the Departments commitment to equality of treatment and the human rights of families and individuals.

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