In the report of the Mental Hospitals for 1997, the inspector highlighted the poor conditions that exist in some wards located in the old, large, Victorian style hospitals, which are unsuitable for in-patient care of psychiatric patients. However, as these wards are closed and more community based alternative facilities are provided, steady progress is being made towards improving the quality of mental heath care in this country.
The inspector pointed out in his 1997 report that the rate of progress in upgrading unsatisfactory accommodation or providing alternative community residental accommodation, as well as the development of acute units in general hospitals, has been dictated by the availability of capital funding. In order to address this problem £7 million was provided in capital funds in 1998 which will accelerate the provision of acute psychiatric units in general hospitals. For example, I have included in the capital programme provision for units at Portlaoise, Kilkenny, Sligo, Nenagh, Ennis, St. Vincent's, Elm Park and Beaumont Hospital. Capital funds have also been made available for the provision of additional community based facilities throughout the country including facilities for the older people with mental health problems.