Dáil Éireann - Volume 462 - 05 March, 1996

Written Answers. - Delivery of Mental Health Services.

110. Mr. O'Dea asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a patient in the psychiatric section, ward 5B of the Limerick Regional Hospital went missing at 8 p.m. on Sunday, 25 February 1996; if his attention has further been drawn to the fact that this person's whereabouts were not known until the following day; his views on whether this demonstrates an appalling lack of supervision of psychiatric patients who have been entrusted to the care of Limerick Regional Hospital; if he will initiate an inquiry into the circumstances of its case; if his attention has further been drawn to any similar instances of patients disappearing from ward 5B; and the steps, if any, he will take to ensure that such an incident does not recur. [5043/96]

Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East): The Mid-Western Health Board is responsible for the delivery of health services, including mental health services, in its functional area, and I asked the health board for a report on the incident referred to by the Deputy.

Having considered the health board's report, which showed that the patient in question never left ward 5B of Limerick Regional Hospital, I do not believe that the incident demonstrated a lack of [1268] supervision in relation to patient care, nor do I believe that an inquiry into the circumstances of the case is warranted. In the interests of the patient's privacy, it would not be appropriate to make any further comment on the circumstances of the case.