Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Inspection of Mental Hospitals.

Tuesday, 14 April 1964

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 208 No. 10

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8.

Mr. Kyne: Information on Thomas Anthony Kyne  Zoom on Thomas Anthony 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: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán 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. Kyne: Information on Thomas Anthony Kyne  Zoom on Thomas Anthony Kyne  Does the Minister not agree that a surprise visit is much more useful if one wants to find out what is actually happening?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán 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 [1461] of persons descended upon it without notice.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Question No. 9.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán 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.

Mr. Kyne: Information on Thomas Anthony Kyne  Zoom on Thomas Anthony Kyne  How does one see conditions except by going there?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Certainly, and these people are going there, but they are going there under notice.

Mr. Kyne: Information on Thomas Anthony Kyne  Zoom on Thomas Anthony Kyne  They will only see the best conditions.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I am sure the very experienced persons on the Commission will know the extent to which to discount what they may happen to see.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  The Minister never heard of a CO's inspections.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Is this on Question No. 9?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I am getting back to the question.


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