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Children sent to adult psychiatric units - despite new legal ban

Documents obtained by the Medical Independent show five under-17s being admitted to wards, despite a legal ban.
May 19th 2011, 4:55 PM 375 0

FIVE PEOPLE UNDER the age of 17 were admitted to adult psychiatric units in two months at the turn of the year – despite a new legal clause banning the admission of children to such units in all but exceptional circumstances.

Documents obtained from the Mental Health Commission by the Medical Independent newspaper show that one child aged 15, and another four aged 16, were admitted to adult units in the weeks after the new rule came into affect on December 1 last year.

The newspaper noted that while centres are obliged to try and house younger patients in age-appropriate facilities before leaving them in adult-oriented units, efforts in all five cases proved unsuccessful.

This was because, June Shannon’s report indicates, there was a shortage of beds in the juvenile psychiatric units.

The Mental Health Commission issued an addendum to the current Mental Health Act, dating from 2001, introducing a rule that prohibited under-17s from being admitted to adult units.

Read June Shannon’s story in full at the Medical Independent >

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Gavan Reilly

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