Written Answers. - Psychiatric Services.

Michael Finucane

Question:

119 Mr. Finucane asked the Minister for Health and Children the procedures that apply to the release of psychiatric patients into their local communities over the Christmas period; and the nature of the assessments undertaken where a local community has a concern that the release from hospital of a particular patient may pose a threat to the wellbeing and safety of others within the community. [1939/99]

Alan Shatter

Question:

610 Mr. Shatter asked the Minister for Health and Children the procedures that apply to the release of psychiatric patients into their local communities over the Christmas period; and the nature of the assessments undertaken where a local community has a concern that the release from hospital of a particular patient may pose a threat to the wellbeing and safety of others within the community. [1992/99]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 119 and 610 together.

Discharge of patients into their local communities at any time, including over the Christmas period, is a matter for consultant psychiatrists responsible for the treatment of patients. The question of whether or not to discharge a patient, therefore, remains a matter of clinical judgment.