Involuntary patients are those who have to be compulsorily admitted and detained for their own safety or for the safety of others. Under the Mental Treatment Act, 1945, there are two categories of involuntary patients, a temporary patient and a "person of unsound mind". The procedures for admission of each category are set out in the Act.
The Mental Health Bill, 1999, currently before the Oireachtas, will amend existing legislation for the admission of patients to psychiatric hospitals and units. The new legislation will provide a modern framework for the care and treatment of persons with a mental disorder and will bring our legislation in this area into line with the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Mental Health Bill has now completed all stages in the Dáil and Committee and Remaining Stages are due to be taken in the Seanad tomorrow. Its provisions will be implemented as soon as possible after enactment.