Written Answers. - General Medical Services Scheme.

Paul McGrath

Question:

387 Mr. McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if it is his policy that cigarettes be supplied by health boards to long stay patients in psychiatric hospitals or in hospitals for the elderly; if there are guidelines controlling the quantity of cigarettes supplied to individual patients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8081/01]

It is not my policy nor is it the policy of any health board to supply cigarettes to long stay patients in elderly or psychiatric hospitals. Long stay patients in such hospitals may purchase cigarettes from their own resources. In some instances, hospital management may purchase cigarettes for long stay patients who have no means of their own and for whom the total withdrawal of cigarettes would be counter-productive to their mental well being.

There are no written guidelines concerning the supply of cigarettes to psychiatric patients. However, I have asked the Inspector of Mental Hospitals to review this and to issue guidelines to health boards on the matter as soon as possible.