Tuesday, 14 April 1964
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Kyne: asked the Minister for Health whether he is aware that certain mental hospitals which are to be visited and inspected by the Commission on Mental Health have very considerable advance notice of the visit of the Commission; whether the Commission visit any mental hospitals without giving prior notice of their visit with a view to observing the normal working and operation of these hospitals without any special preparations being made; and, if so, how many such unprepared visits have been made.
Mr. MacEntee: The procedure followed or to be followed by the Commission of Inquiry on Mental Illness in their visits to mental hospitals is a matter for the Commission to decide and I have no functions in the matter. I understand, however, that most of the public mental hospitals have already been visited by the Commission, that the remaining hospitals are to be visited in the near future and that advance notice of the proposed visit has been given in all cases.
Mr. MacEntee: A surprise visit by an inspector may be of some use, but I doubt if it would be possible for a hospital to cater for the situation which would be created if a great number  of persons descended upon it without notice.
Mr. MacEntee: I should add that it is not the function of the Commission to inspect for the purpose of discovering whether or not regulations are being observed but mainly to see what the general conditions are in the hospital.
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