Fionn Fitzpatrick 0

Investigation of HSE Whistleblower Louise Bayliss Case

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We call on the Minister for Mental Health to investigate the prompt removal of Louise Bayliss, Mental Health Advocate with the Irish Advocacy Network, while engaged in an advocacy capacity in St Brendan's psychiatric hospital, following her contribution to RTE’s liveline where she highlighted the inappropriate conditions and poor treatment of in-patients at St Brendan's. We acknowledge that Ms Bayliss has been reinstated as a result of political and public pressure so that she may continue to work for the improvement of conditions alongside mental health service users confined to in-patient settings, in line with her role as Mental Health Advocate and as per government mental health policy Vision for Change. However this does not negate the need for a full and proper investigation into conditions at St Brendan's Hospital and the unclear relationship between the HSE and the Irish Advocacy Network. Recommendations by the Expert Group on Vision for Change highlight the role and importance of mental health advocacy for all service users in supporting recovery and recommend a rights based approach be taken by government, “all users of the mental health services – whether in hospitals, day centres, training centres, clinics, or elsewhere – should have the right to use the services of a mental health advocate. Exercising this right is not possible at present for some service users as there are many areas in the country which do not have access to advocates, and there are so few in other areas that only in-patients currently have access to an advocate.” The removal of Ms Bayliss from St Brendan’s Hospital did not support the interests of the people confined there, neither does it serve the interests of society who understand the importance of effective, independent advocacy work in supporting individuals to recover, and in providing a level of accountability to service users, their families and the general public and otherwise unavailable from the HSE. The time is long overdue for the implementation of whistleblowing legislation to encourage and protect people to come forward and speak out. We, the undersigned hereby call on the Minister to: 1. Fully investigate the circumstances surrounding Ms Bayliss’s removal from her post following her contribution to RTE’s liveline where she highlighted the inappropriate conditions and poor treatment of in-patients at St Brendan’s Hospital immediately. 2. Request that a full and thorough investigation into management practices and conditions of in patients as reported by Ms Bayliss in St Brendan's Hospital be undertaken urgently in the interests of service users, family members and society as a whole. 3. Promote and support the independence of advocacy workers to maintain an impartial stance while working for the improvement of service users’ treatment by the HSE mental health services through the implementation of crucial whistleblowing legislation. We request that the nature of the working relationship between both the HSE and the Irish Advocacy Network be thoroughly investigated and accounted for, with the results made publicly available upon timely conclusion. 4. Make a clear and meaningful commitment to implement the Recommendations of the Expert Group on Vision for Change and work for urgent legislative change so that service users can avail of recovery centred community based mental health services and advocacy as a matter of right, rather than chance or charity in line with government policy Vision for Change. Yours sincerely,


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