Dáil Éireann - Volume 373 - 09 June, 1987
Written Answers. - Psychiatric Care Legislation.
Mr. Allen Mr. Allen
200. Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Health the plans, if any, he has to introduce new legislation governing the psychiatric services; and the proposals, if any, he has to safeguard individuals from wrongful detention.
Minister for Health (Dr. O'Hanlon) Rory O'Hanlon
Minister for Health (Dr. O'Hanlon): The question of the legislation which is needed in relation to psychiatric care is under consideration in my Department.
The provisions in existing legislation to safeguard against wrongful detention of patients include: (1) Patients have a right to have a letter forwarded to the Minister for Health, the President of the High Court, the Inspector of Mental Hospitals, the Registrar of Wards of Court and certain other bodies. The Minister or the President of the High Court may require the inspector to visit and examine a patient and furnish a report; (2) The Inspector of Mental Hospitals has a duty to give special attention to the condition of any patient where the propriety of the detention is doubtful or the patient or another person requests him to do so; (3) Any detained person may apply to the Minister for an order for the examination of that person by two doctors of his choice and on consideration of their report the Minister may direct that the person be discharged; (4) There is a statutory requirement that a patient who has recovered be discharged; (5) Penalties are imposed under existing legislation for the detention of a person otherwise than in accordance with the legal provisions.
The detention of patients is a diminishing feature of psychiatric care and, in practice, the developments now in progress in the psychiatric service will afford patients much greater freedom and independence.
Dáil Éireann 373 Written Answers. Psychiatric Care Legislation.