Dáil Éireann - Volume 475 - 05 March, 1997
Written Answers. - Rights of Psychiatric Patients.
Mr. M. Kitt Mr. M. Kitt
91. Mr. M. Kitt asked the Minister for Health if it is proposed to publish a charter of rights for psychiatric patients; if so, if such a charter will be included in the general patients charter after legislation is enacted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6153/97]
Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East) Michael Noonan
Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East): My Department is preparing new mental health legislation. This legislation will give greater protection to the civil rights of those with mental illness who need to be detained for treatment and will bring Irish legislation into conformity with international law. The legislation, which is currently being drafted in the office of the Attorney General, will be introduced as soon as possible to the Houses of the Oireachtas.
As set out in the White Paper — A New Mental Health Act, the legislation will provide for the appointment of a commissioner of mental health whose remit will include a review of the quality of care of patients in our mental health services. The commissioner will also produce a code of practice for the care of the mentally ill.
I would like to assure the Deputy that I am committed to the introduction of a charter of rights for patients of our mental health services, separate to that of the general hospital patients' charter, but believe it would more appropriately be formulated and introduced at the same time as the other protective measures being provided for in the new legislation.
Dáil Éireann 475 Written Answers. Rights of Psychiatric Patients.