Written Answers - Mental Health Services.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 649 No. 2

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  117.  Deputy Pat Rabbitte  Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte   asked the Minister for Health and Children  Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney   if she will address serious deficits in the provision of forensic mental health services outside of the Dublin area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9311/08]

Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy Jimmy Devins): Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  The provisions of the Criminal Law Insanity Act 2006 have made additional demands on the forensic mental health services particularly outside Dublin, however the situation is improving. An enhanced forensic mental health service is now being provided within the prison system. Increased funding has enabled the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) to provide consultant-led clinics in all prisons within reach of Dublin. The provision of this service, whereby mentally ill prisoners are assessed and/or treated within the prison system, reduces the need for admissions to the CMH. It is also worth noting that assessments for the Courts can be undertaken at the CMH Outpatient Clinic at Usher’s Island. There may also be situations where it would be appropriate to divert those charged with minor offences from the criminal justice system to their local psychiatric service.

The newly established Office for Disability and Mental Health has a remit to deliver closer co-operation between the Health and Justice Sector in relation to people with mental health issues who come before the courts and it will be considering this matter in that context in the coming months.

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