I have read the report of the independent inquiry panel to the Western and Eastern Health and Social Services Boards (May 2007) into the deaths of Madeleine and Lauren O'Neill, and I'm appalled at the findings.
This unfortunate family was badly let down by the mental health services. The 'professionals' fell down on both their duty and co-ordination of care.
The most damning statement was under the heading 'Comptency, training and education of staff in mental health'. The report went on to say: 'A common theme in this case was an apparent lack of understanding of severe mental illness.'
I was appalled at this admission, although I had already suspected as much. These 'professionals' are the people to whom we entrust our loved ones in times of crisis. This is a terrible indictment of the whole mental health system.
There is obviously something wrong with training for mental health professionals.
How and when will this be rectified, given that the O'Neill deaths occurred in July 2005, almost three years ago? As a carer, I know that matters have not improved.
It is time the general public woke up to these facts — it could be you next.
I am pleased to see in your newspaper (April 11), that the Minister for Health is showing a personal interest.
We should all support the O'Neill family in their request for a public enquiry and for those responsible to be made accountable for their actions. Nothing will change until this happens.
A CONCERNED CARER