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Psychiatric Patients

Volume 895: debated on Wednesday 18 June 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will consider amending the Mental Health Act (Northern Ireland) 1961 to ensure that a patient admitted to a psychiatric hospital is made fully aware of his or her status, and that an informal patient is free to leave hospital from the date of being so categorised, having been clearly informed of this right.

No. Under existing arrangements every patient liable to be detained in hospital receives written notification of status immediately following admission to hospital. Patients who are regraded to informal status are informed in writing that they are no longer liable to be detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act (Northern Ireland) 1961. In each case the nearest relative of the patient is also notified of the position.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will terminate the practice of subjecting informal patients in psychiatric hospitals to electroconvulsive therapy for which the patient's or his relative's permission has not been sought or granted.

Vol. 893, c. 403], gave the following information:

The amounts vary according to invidual circumstances. Assuming a married man with one child under 11 years of age the figures are as follows:

forms of mental disorder and whether to apply it is a matter for the clinical judgement of consultant psychiatrists. Only on very rare occasions and in extreme emergencies would an informal patient be given such therapy without his or his relative's permission.