Ombudsman urges move of TopHáz inhabitants to community living
Budapest (MTI) – The inhabitants of the TopHáz Institute for People with Special Needs in Göd, near Budapest, should be moved to smaller-scale, more humane housing as soon as possible, Hungary’s ombudsman’s office said on Thursday.
Following up complaints submitted by employees of the institute, the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights held an onsite inspection on Thursday.
Previously, during a visit the ministry has said was unauthorised, the civil group Mental Disability Advocacy Centre (MDAC) alleged to have found poor hygienic conditions, malnourishment and residents with open and untreated wounds.
The institute had also been inspected in 2015 and 2016 by the Hungarian authorities, the ombudsman’s report said.
The institute currently houses 220 people living with disabilities. The premises are run down to the point where hygienic care is only partially possible, the ombudsman’s office said. The building is only partially accessible by wheelchair, and the shortage of bathrooms, other facilities, and personnel has led to practices such as group bathing and the use of barred doors or cots, which severely infringe upon the inhabitants’ right to human dignity and equal treatment, the report added.
Another severely detrimental factor is the conflict-laden environment, where the management’s attempts at consistent, client-centred work are regularly thwarted by conflicts with members of staff, the report said.
Ombudsman László Székely has turned to the minister of human resources, the operating authority of the institute, and the institute’s director to urge moving the inhabitants to community housing, where smaller-scale, homelier forms of care would replace large institutes, the statement said.