Saturday 18 November 2017

I'm glad I spoke out, says axed health advocate

A WHISTLEBLOWER who revealed that psychiatric patients were being forced to spend Christmas in a locked unit says she has no regrets despite losing her job.

Louise Bayliss says she would not have "slept at night" if she hadn't spoken out.

Calls have now been made for an investigation into why the Dublin mum-of-two was let go from her job within weeks of going public with her concerns.

Ms Bayliss was told last week that her contract with the Irish Advocacy Network (IAN) was being terminated after just three months.

In December she broke rank after she discovered that female patients at St Brendan's Psychiatric Hospital, Grangegorman, in north Dublin, were being moved to a "lock-up" ward for Christmas.

But after her story appeared in the media, Ms Bayliss wasn't allowed to return to the HSE wards where she worked as an advocate worker on behalf of mentally ill patients.

Louise has since lost her job with the IAN, which is part funded by the HSE.

She had been employed as an advocate for mental health patients in the Dublin area.

The IAN is an HSE-funded organisation which aims to ensure that people with mental health difficulties are treated fairly by providing support and advocacy services

Ms Bayliss, who has a three-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son, said she does not regret speaking out despite losing her only source of income.

"The reason I wanted to get involved in advocacy was to give a voice to those who were unable to speak for themselves.

"I don't regret what I said, obviously I wish I didn't lose my job and its financial implications are very worrying, but I just couldn't have slept at night if I hadn't spoken out for those women," she said.

Martin Rogan, HSE Assistant National Director for Mental Health, has categorically denied that the HSE had any involvement in the decision to terminate Ms Bayliss's contract.

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