Press Release

Minister Moloney welcomes the launch of the Report by the Mental Health Commission on the operation of Part 2 of the Mental Health Act, 2001.

Mr. John Moloney T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health And Children today ( 31st July 2008) welcomed the publication of the Mental Health Commission’s Report on the operation of Part 2 of the Mental Health Act, 2001. The Commission’s report provides an external commentary on the Mental Health Act, an information report relating to the operational activity arising from the commencement of Part 2 and the findings of a public consultation exercise.

Part 2 of the Act provides for a system of independent review by a Mental Health Tribunal of a person’s involuntary detention for psychiatric care and treatment. Prior to the implementation of Part 2 of the Act in November 2006, there was no independent review of involuntary detention in Ireland and, in general, those detained against their will in psychiatric hospitals remained there until the relevant consultant psychiatrist determined that they should be discharged.

“The successful implementation of Part 2 of the Act represented a very significant reform of the manner in which mental health services in Ireland are provided to the most vulnerable in society, those who are unable to decide about their care and who, in the past, may have been unfairly deprived of their liberty”said the Minister.

The Minister added“I am particularly pleased that a majority of respondents in the public consultation exercise believed that the Act has improved the safeguards for people involuntarily detained. This is a clear vindication that the approach we have adopted is the correct one, and I consider it as a vote of confidence in the Mental Health Service. In many respects the Mental Health Service is leading the way in the health reform process, regulation and enforcement of quality standards, independent inspection and annual reporting, reliable information on patient admissions and discharges and the active involvement of service users, are now in place within the mental health service.

However, we will not sit on our laurels but will continue to strive to improve patient safeguards, enhance service delivery and ensure an effective monitoring regime. In this regard my Department will fully consider the Commission’s recommendations for legislative change and, where necessary, will bring forward proposals for amending legislation before the end of the year.”

The Minister concluded by thanking the Commission for its very comprehensive Report, noting the measures which were taken by the Commission in preparation for the full implementation of the Act, which included a substantial programme of training for mental health service staff.