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Concern on restraint in mental health centres

[Posted: Sun 30/01/2011 www.irishhealth.com]

Amnesty International Ireland (AI) has expressed concern following a new report from the Mental Health Commission which pointed to high levels of seclusion and restraint within mental health services in Ireland.

AI pointed out that In one centre, the use of physical restraint was shown to have risen by more than 600 per cent.

The report revealed that nearly three quarters (72.3 per cent) of all approved mental health facilities recorded episodes of physical restraint and nearly half (43.9 per cent) had placed residents in seclusion during 2009.

There was a 34 per cent increase in the number of episodes of physical restraint overall in 2009,the year the report covers.

Colm O’ Gorman, Executive Director of AI, said the organisation was seriously concerned at the figures uncovered.

“The practice of seclusion and the use of restraint can have very serious implications for the individual patient’s human rights to their dignity, bodily integrity and privacy.

"It has the potential to breach the prohibition on inhuman or degrading treatment. It is crucial that seclusion and restraint only be resorted to where necessary and proportionate in the individual circumstances."

Mr O'Gorman said now that the scale of the use of seclusion and restraint has been identified, services must take steps to minimise the use of such practices.

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