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Robust inspection of mental-health services promised
Mary Butler, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Pic: RollingNews.ie

09 Apr 2024 / legislation Print

Robust mental-health service inspection pledged

The new Mental Health Bill will replace, reform and overhaul the Mental Health Act 2001 Mary Butler (Minister for Mental Health and Older People) has said.

The bill is expected to contain over 140 sections and the minister said she has requested priority publication in the upcoming summer legislative session.

“The forthcoming new Mental Health Bill is a complex and lengthy piece of legislation. It will introduce, for the first time, a robust system of registration, regulation, and inspection of all mental health services, including all community CAMHS,” she said.

Regulatory remit

Currently, the Mental Health Commission’s regulatory remit under the 2001 Act encompasses 65 approved centres providing inpatient treatment. That remit is expected to significantly expand to include the regulation of community mental health services, including CAMHS, and including both residential and non-residential mental-health services.

Minister Butler (pictured) also welcomed the establishment of the Mental Health Commission’s working group to advise on the development of standards for community mental health services, which held its first meeting recently.

She said the working group would help to set out best practice and complement the legal framework to regulate community mental health services being provided by the forthcoming bill.

Involuntary admission

Minister Butler added that the new Mental Health Bill will:

  • Update the involuntary admission process,
  • Modernise provisions related to consent to treatment,
  • Provide enhanced safeguards for people accessing inpatient treatment, and
  • provide a new, discrete part that relates exclusively to the care and treatment of children and young people.

“The new bill will overhaul our mental-health legislation making it more person-centred and human rights focused and help to put in place a more robust framework in which our mental health services can be delivered,” she added.

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