Dáil Éireann - Volume 569 - 24 June, 2003

Written Answers. - Mental Health Services.

  156. Mr. Neville asked the Minister for Health and Children his views on the fact that Ireland has excessively high admission rates to psychiatric hospitals, both voluntary and involuntary, due to a lack of community based alternatives; and his proposals to deal with this matter. [17649/03]

  Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. T. O'Malley): The broad thrust of admission policy in the psychiatric services in this country is to admit to in-patient care those patients whose illnesses, on the basis of clinical judgment in each individual case, are deemed to be of such severity as to be inappropriate for community-based treatment. Substantial progress has been made in recent years in ensuring that those in need of mental health services receive care and treatment in the most appropriate setting. In this regard, health boards have developed, and are continuing to develop, a modern comprehensive community-based mental health service. This has resulted in a continuing decline in the number of in-patients in recent years with a corresponding increase in the provision of a range of care facilities based in the community to complement in-patient services.

  It is my intention to continue the growth in alternatives to hospitalisation, with the further development of community-based services throughout the country. Significant additional funding, both capital and revenue, has been provided by my Department in recent years for this purpose.

  Question No. 157 answered with Question No. 137.