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Mental Health Tribunals

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 2 May 2017

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Questions (1112, 1113, 1114, 1115, 1116)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

1112. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health the number of registered private psychiatrists qualified to offer independent approval in mental health tribunals as set up under the Mental Health Commission in Ireland (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20630/17]

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Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

1113. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health the related costs for a secondary sign-off by a medical professional during a mental health tribunal as set up by the Mental Health Commission; if these medical professionals are employed directly by the HSE or if they are private GPs; if in the case that secondary sign-off is conducted by both HSE employees and GPs depending on individual cases, the number of each for 2015 and 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20631/17]

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Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

1114. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health the method of selection for solicitors for tribunals with regard to mental health tribunals as set up by the Mental Health Commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20632/17]

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Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

1115. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health the process involved for putting in place legal services required for the tribunals, with regard to mental health tribunals as set up by the Mental Health Commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20633/17]

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Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

1116. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health the fees paid with regard to mental health tribunals as set up by the Mental Health Commission for consultant psychiatrists, solicitors and lay persons, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20634/17]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1112 to 1116, inclusive, together.

The principal functions of the Mental Health Commission are specified in Section 33 of the Mental Health Act 2001. This includes the appointment of persons to be members of mental health tribunals, the establishment of a panel of consultant psychiatrists to carry out independent medical examinations under Section 17 of the Act and the provision of a scheme for the granting of legal aid.

The Mental Health Commission appoints three people to a mental health tribunal. Of the members of a tribunal, one must be a consultant psychiatrist, one must be a practising barrister or solicitor who has had not less than 7 years’ experience as a practising barrister or solicitor ending immediately before such appointment and one must be a person other than a person referred to above or a registered medical practitioner or a registered nurse.

There are 96 consultant psychiatrists, 94 Barristers or solicitors and 79 other persons on a panel to provide the membership of a mental health tribunal. Fees for serving on a mental health tribunal are as follows:

Tribunal member

Fee Per case

Consultant psychiatrists

€382

Barristers or solicitors (Chair)

€574

Other persons

€287

A consultant psychiatrist is defined in Section 2 of the Act as a consultant psychiatrist who is employed by a health board or by an approved centre or a person whose name is entered on the division of psychiatry or the division of child and adolescent psychiatry of the Register of Medical Specialists maintained by the Medical Council in Ireland.

Appointment to mental health tribunal panels is for a period not exceeding three years, in accordance with Section 48 of the Act, by way of public competition. The Mental Health Commission establishes panels for mental health tribunals every three years. All people who meet the eligibility criterion laid down in the statute may apply. The term of office of the persons appointed to the current mental health tribunal panels on contracts for services expires on 31 October 2019.

In addition to the Tribunal panel, there are 119 consultant psychiatrists on the panel to provide independent medical reports pursuant to Section 17 of the Act. The fee for an independent medical report which must be provided for the consideration of a mental health tribunal is €477.

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