Patients in the long-stay Teach Aisling, a HSE-run mental health facility in Castlebar had to bang on the window of a nurses' station to ask for a drink of water after restrictions were imposed on their access to fluids, a damning inspection report by the Mental Health commission, published yesterday reveals.

Water was also withheld as a "punishment" for some challenging behavior, according to today’s Irish Independent

The report revealed that the nurses' station had closed blinds and there was no other way patients who were desperate for water could get their attention.

Patients in one of the locked areas were without a ready supply of fresh drinking water.

A water ban was also imposed as a "punishment" for challenging behaviour as part of a programme for one resident, inspectors from the Mental Health Commission discovered.

The inspectors expressed serious concerns at the failure to provide therapeutic services and also the absence of recreational activities and resources.

Chief inspector Dr Susan Finnerty, who published five reports yesterday, warned:"Some of our most vulnerable citizens are looked after in these approved centres and they are failing in a number of key areas."



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