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Irish Journal of Medical Science

, Volume 179, Issue 2, pp 291–294 | Cite as

National survey of psychiatrists’ responses to implementation of the Mental Health Act 2001 in Ireland

  • F. Jabbar
  • B. D. Kelly
  • P. Casey
Brief Report

Abstract

Background

Ireland’s Mental Health Act 2001 resulted in substantial changes to mental health services and the process of involuntary admission.

Aims

To determine the views of Irish psychiatrists regarding the new legislation, 1 year after full implementation.

Methods

We sent questionnaires to all 735 members of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Ireland.

Results

The response rate was 43.7%. As much as 84% of respondents reported satisfaction with training; 69.1% reported increased workloads; 26.8% reported decreased time with service-users; 40.7% reported changes in relationships with service-users (e.g. increased empathy, but more legalistic, conflicted relationships). Almost one in three (27.4%) stated that it was not feasible to implement the Mental Health Act. Negative comments highlighted the adversarial nature of mental health tribunals, effects on therapeutic relationships and issues related to children.

Conclusions

The implementation of the Mental Health Act 2001 has resulted in increased workloads, more conflicted relationships with service-users and adversarial mental health tribunals.

Keywords

Legislation, medical Mental health services Psychiatric hospitals Health resources Health-care reform Ireland 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to express their gratitude to the Irish College of Psychiatrists and all psychiatrists who responded to the survey.

Conflict of interest statement

None.

References

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    Ganter K (2005) Implementing the Mental Health Act 2001: what should be done? What can be done? Ir J Psychol Med 22:80–81Google Scholar
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    Kelly BD, Lenihan F (2006) Attitudes towards the implementation of the Mental Health Act 2001. Ir J Psychol Med 23:82–84Google Scholar
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    O’Neill C, Sinclair H, Kelly A, Kennedy H (2002) Interaction of forensic and general psychiatric services in Ireland: learning the lessons or repeating the mistakes? Ir J Psychol Med 19:48–54Google Scholar
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    O’Keane V, Jeffers A, Moloney E, Barry S (2004) Irish Psychiatric Association survey of psychiatric services in Ireland. Psychiatr Bull 28:364–367. doi: 10.1192/pb.28.10.364 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Adult PsychiatryUniversity College Dublin, Mater Misericordiae University HospitalDublin 7Ireland

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