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The Seimas Ombudsman expresses concern regarding human rights violations in the psychiatric clinic of Šiauliai hospital

9 September 2014

psichiatrijos lovaThe Seimas Ombudsman Augustinas Normantas questioned whether the personnel of psychiatric clinic properly cares for patients and their rights are not violated.

In the human rights report on the situation in the psychiatric clinic of Šiauliai hospital, the Seimas Ombudsman noted that the psychiatrists do not inform patients about the applied treatment and its efficiency. Moreover, they do not provide information on the prescribed medicines and a possibility to refuse medical interventions.

“Patients who are involuntary hospitalized do not have the possibility to appeal against the court decision to extend the hospitalization. Moreover, they are not informed about the court hearings”, noted A. Normantas.

The Seimas Ombudsman recommended the Minister of Justice Juozas Bernatonis to consider a possibility of consolidating the right of involuntary hospitalised person to appeal the permit to extend his or her involuntary hospitalisation or treatment issued by the court.

After the visit to the psychiatric clinic of Šiauliai hospital, the Seimas Ombudsman came to a conclusion that the right of a patient to get acquainted with the medical records is not ensured. In addition, patients do not have a possibility to get a copy of these documents.

“The department of intensive care does not ensure a safe environment for both personnel and patients and video surveillance is not carried out there. The required minimum space for a patient in a psychiatric ward is not guaranteed either: there are more than four beds in some psychiatric wards. In addition, limits for walking outdoors are applied”, is stated in the report of the human rights situation in psychiatric clinic of Šiauliai hospital.

A. Normantas also observed that there was no separate room for the meetings where the privacy of patients and relatives would be ensured.

Haven taken into consideration all the established violations, the Seimas Ombudsman in his recommendation encouraged the head of Šiauliai hospital Petras Simavičius to take all actions needed that voluntary treated patients would have a possibility to submit a request for refusal of treatment or medical interventions and would be informed about treatment provided.

“The involuntary hospitalized persons should be informed about the forthcoming court hearings where the question of an extension of involuntary hospitalisation is to be considered. The patients should also be informed about the right to attend the court hearings”, noted the Seimas Ombudsman A. Normantas.

The Seimas Ombudsman also recommended to provide patients with combs, toothbrushes and washing tools.

A general recommendation is to improve the quality of services by organizing trainings for the personnel on human rights and implementation of requirements of Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

There are over 400 detention places in Lithuania, including correctional institutions, detention centres, psychiatric institutions and institutions of communicable diseases, care homes, border checkpoints, the Foreigners' Registration Centre and other places of deprivation of liberty in Lithuania.

The Law on the Seimas Ombudsmen allows the Seimas Ombudsmen to enter any social care or custodial institution at any time of the day in Lithuania. The Seimas Ombudsmen started implementing national prevention of torture in Lithuania in the beginning of 2014 when the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania adopted the Optional Protocol (OPCAT) to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

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