Fears over high level of restraints on mentally ill
The number of psychiatric patients who are locked up alone in a room, or physically restrained, is still too high, a new report has stated.
There were 4,739 recorded cases of patients being mechanically or physically restrained in 2011 as a means of preventing harm to themselves or others.
Although this is a drop of 12pc from 2010, the number of times patients were physically held went up to 3,056, a rise of 71.
All five child and adolescent mental health units reported using physical restraint, with cases up from 100 episodes in 2010 to 214 episodes in 2011.
Watchdog the Mental Health Commission, which drew up the report, warned that seclusion and restraint should only be an emergency measure. Chairman John Saunders said: "Our aim is to encourage approved centres to focus on preventative measures that eliminate or minimise the use of restrictive interventions.
"To that end, the commission has during 2012 completed a consultation exercise on a seclusion and physical restraint reduction strategy.
"That strategy will be published during 2013 and it will be implemented nationwide."
For the fourth year, St Joseph's Intellectual Disability Services at St Ita's Hospital in Dublin recorded the highest number of episodes of seclusion, 99.7pc of which lasted less than eight hours..
The Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum, Dublin, had the second highest number of seclusion episodes at 175.