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Home > Committal procedures in Ireland.

Gibbons, P and Walshe, DG and Dillon, J (1992) Committal procedures in Ireland. Irish Medical Journal, 85, (3), pp. 91-3.

The study aims to describe current committal practice in an Irish public psychiatric service and to establish the role of 'dangerousness' in determining practice. A six month retrospective review was undertaken using casenotes and original temporary forms of all patients committed to St Brendan's Hospital, Dublin within a six month period in 1990.

A total of 136 cases were examined. In 65% of cases the application for detention was initiated by a spouse or relative. The recommending physician was identified as a General Practitioner in 80% of cases, although most were locum GP's. The number of male and female patients were almost equal. There was a wide age range with the largest group (42%) in the range 26-40 years. Previous contact with the psychiatric service was found in 89% of cases. There was a wide range of diagnoses with the largest category (56%) suffering from schizophrenia. Of those not admitted with alcohol or drug related illness 66% showed evidence of acute psychotic symptoms. Length of admission was relatively short with 84% of patients being discharged within three months.

A total of 43% showed evidence of being a danger to themselves or others. Significant differences were found between these patients and the non-dangerous group, the latter being more likely to be older and to suffer from a major psychotic illness. These findings indicate that a committal law based purely on 'dangerousness' criteria would be likely to significantly affect committal practice in Ireland. These findings are discussed in relation to proposed changes in mental health legislation in Ireland.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Crime prevention
Page Range
pp. 91-3
Irish Medical Organisation
Accession Number
HRB 1129 (Not in collection)
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