25 signatures reached
To: Stephen Donnelly, Minister for Health
Make lifesaving changes to the Irish Mental Health System
To Stephen Donnelly and the Department of Health,
In 2019, the HSE completed an inquest into the mental health disservices experienced by our precious Maxine Maguire prior to her death in 2017. The report that came out of this inquest presented a summary of recommendations for changes to be implemented in the Irish Mental Health system and services, which would make massive positive change in preventing further tragedy for those suffering with mental illness and their families. These changes would SAVE LIVES, and would have saved Maxine's had they been in place sooner.
We urge you to waste no more time standing still while people continue to receive less than adequate care for their lives from your national mental health system. Implement these mental health system changes, YOUR recommendations (below), NOW.
1. When referring a patient to mental health services, an up to date review in person by the GP is strongly recommended to ensure an appropriate clinical presentation is available to mental health services to prioritize patient appointments.
2. Patients should be reviewed as soon as possible in Accident & Emergency.
3. An appropriate Information Technology System should be introduced that will facilitate rapid access to the complete set of patient's notes to enhance decision making and care planning.
4. Healthcare personnel should carefully consider the contents of all clinical notes, referral letters etc. to ensure effective decision making regarding review frequency, severity of illness and appropriate management plan.
5. Regular consistent review of patients would assist in ensuring early identification of risk issues, which may warrant a change in management and treatment.
6. The liaison team in 'Hospital B' should review it's processes to ensure continuity and senior clinical decision making.
7. Prior to discharge following a serious overdose a patient should be reviewed by a senior clinician.
It is NOT enough to just tell us what you should fix in the mental health system - it actually needs to HAPPEN and BE fixed. It has been over 2 years since you have completed your inquest into Maxine's death and came up with the changes that YOU see as important steps to implement to save lives and yet these standards have still NOT been implemented. Don't assume that you can sweep this under the carpet and get to it another time - people all over Ireland are suffering from life-threatening mental health crises TODAY.
Why is this important?
Please sign this petition if you believe the lifesaving changes, that the HSE themselves have summarized (listed above) after an inquest into their care of Maxine Maguire prior to her death, should be made in the Irish Mental Health System.
It's difficult to accept and hard to believe they aren't already a standard in our mental health system. We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to demand better.
Adequate mental healthcare is becoming even more essential now as we struggle through a global pandemic. As Patrick Freyne from the Irish Times put it - "IRELAND’S MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM IS NOT PREPARED FOR A CRISIS – BECAUSE IT WAS IN ONE BEFORE WE EVER HEARD OF CORONAVIRUS". This needs to change.
We all suffer at one point or another with poor mental health and most of us are lucky to not have to rely on the Irish Mental Health services for the help we need to get better, however a large percentage of people in Ireland suffering from longer-term mental health crises and illnesses such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and depression, among more, DO require better care and accountability from the HSE to manage their illness and in a lot of cases, survive.
Don't you want to fully trust that the health system you rely on can take care of you or your loved ones in a mental health crisis? Or provide you with care if you are diagnosed with a mental illness? We trust them to do their very best to keep us alive when we have a physical health emergency, so why can't we trust them to handle us with the same care when it comes to ours and our loved one's mental health?
Maxine would still be alive today if it weren't for the proven negligence that the HSE has shown. A HSE inquest into her death found that in the lead-up to Maxine's death, over a 10 week period, she experienced...
1. A delayed referral to mental health services
2. The HSE's lack of awareness of the severity of Maxine's psychotic symptoms and her relationship to suicide risk (After reaching out for urgent help regarding her state of mind, Maxine was turned away from her local mental health service without help, and sent to A&E)
3. A prolonged period in Accident & Emergency. Maxine had to wait 13 hours in an extremely vulnerable state at A&E until there was a psychiatrist available to see her. She was subsequently sent home (the hospital could not locate her 'file') and took an overdose 2 days later.
4. The HSE's apparent lack of awareness of Maxine's prior health history starting from 2012.
5. Lack of communication. Multi-hospital care scenarios were not possible as Maxine's medical files were not on a computer system accessible to all relevant medical professionals.
6. The early and negligible discharge from hospital after an organ transplant due to suicide attempt, and lack of follow-up arrangements regarding her mental state. As per the coroner's recommendations, a psychiatric consultant should have a face-to-face review with a patient before the decision to discharge is made. This was not done in Maxine's case.
Every negligible action by the HSE led to another, which led to further harm and eventual loss of our dear Maxine's life. None of us want to see a daughter, son, sister, brother, parent, aunt, uncle, cousin, friend or ourselves get faced with any of these less-than-adequate responses when we reach out for help. Please sign this petition so that we can get the HSE's own recommended changes, implemented and save lives.
How it will be delivered
In-person at Leinster House.