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Investigation underway after patient fell from hospital roof


Edwin McGreal

A HSE investigation is underway after a patient at Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar suffered what were described as serious injuries following a fall of 35 feet from a flat roof in the hospital.
Cllr Michael Kilcoyne (Ind) tabled questions on the incident at the Regional Health Forum West on November 26 last.
Cllr Kilcoyne said that having exited through a window to a flat foot, the patient received ‘serious injuries’ after he fell from there, a fall of approximately 35 feet.
The incident took place in the early hours of Sunday, October 27 last.
He asked the HSE what investigation has been carried out, what risk assessment has been carried out to prevent this reoccurring, had the risk been brought to the attention of the hospital management before and what other action is proposed to be taken on the matter.
In response, Tony Canavan, CAO of the Saolta University Health Care Group, the hospital group for the west and north west of the country, said an investigation was underway.
“This incident is being investigated in line with normal processes within the hospital under the incident management framework. All elements of the incident will be explored and risk assessed accordingly,” he replied.
Mental health questions
At the same forum, Cllr Kilcoyne also asked questions about facilities in Mayo for an adult or young person who is ‘experiencing a severe mental health episode’.
He asked who makes the decision to admit in such circumstances and asked if there are figures for the number of people who were not admitted who subsequently took their own life. He also asked about delays in people being seen by consultants.
In response, Martin Greaney, Assistant Chief Officer, Community Healthcare West, said that an adult in Mayo who is mentally unwell and requires assessment by a specialist mental health team, can either be referred by their GP to the Community Mental Health Team or be referred or self-refer to the Emergency Department at Mayo University Hospital at any time.
“If referred to the Emergency Department during office hours (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm) the person will be seen by a member of the psychiatric liaison team who will carry out an assessment and provide a treatment plan in conjunction with the Consultant Psychiatrist on duty or their own Consultant if they are already a patient of the service.
“This may include admission if indicated,” said Mr Greaney.
He said there is ‘no wait time’ during the week for assessment or admission, ‘unless there is high demand’ which he said is ‘unusual during the day’.
He added there are ‘no waiting lists’ for patients to be seen ‘by a consultant psychiatrist in Mayo in the community’, saying all patients are seen within 12 weeks as per national key performance indicators and that ‘most are seen within a month’.  
“If urgent, a patient is seen by the team within 24 or 48 hours Monday – Friday and if they cannot be accommodated by the team in the community, they are seen in the Emergency Department out of hours and at weekends people can be referred to the Emergency Department for urgent assessment by the on call psychiatrist,” said Mr Greaney.
In relation to anyone under 18 presenting mentally unwell, Mr Greaney said they are dealt with by CAMHS (Children and Adolescents Mental Health Service).
“If a minor is referred to the Emergency Department, the CAMHS teams have responsibility to see these patients during office hours in the Emergency Department. After 5pm and at weekends, the duty psychiatrist provides the assessment and treatment plan in conjunction with the CAMHS Consultant on duty for the Community Healthcare West Area.
“If admission is indicated the patient is admitted to a CAMHS inpatient unit, the closest for Mayo being the CAMHS unit in Merlin Park Galway. If admission is not indicated, then a treatment plan for care in the community is agreed with family and follow up arrangements put in place,” he said.