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Mental health patients ‘let down by failure to ratify UN convention on rights’ – Buckley

30 March, 2017 - by Pat Buckley TD

Sinn Féin deputy Mental Health spokesperson Pat Buckley TD has called on the Government to begin the process of ratifying the United Nations Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and update patients’ rights legislation accordingly. He made his comments on the 10th anniversary of the signature of the Convention by the Irish Government, stating the long delay on ratification and failure to update patients’ rights legislation was completely unacceptable.

Deputy Buckley said:

“People who seek mental health care in this state are regularly let down badly by the poor provision of services. The state has failed to implement a true recovery based community model leaving it up to the initiative of local service providers and non-governmental bodies who struggle with funding, resource and staffing issues on a daily basis. The state, in its lack of action on ratifying the CRPD, has once again shown these people in often incredibly vulnerable states that they are not a priority.

“I am calling on the Government to immediately begin the process of ratifying this convention and, in tandem, to focus on updating and strengthening of patients’ rights in this state in line with current best practice. The rights of people seeking mental health care have to be prioritised because of the vulnerable state in which they find themselves.

“People experiencing mental ill health can be involuntarily confined to locked health care facilities and there is not sufficient rights based legislation in place to ensure that they have a voice and an input in their care. This kind of involvement is crucial to recovery. It may be a delicate balance, but by placing these rights at the forefront and employing methods such as advanced care directives, this balance can be achieved.

“We have waited too long for these rights to be ratified and we can wait no longer.” 

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