The Mental Health Act 2001 introduced important reforms of Irish mental health law and services. This paper aims to provide an evidence-based exploration of general practitioners’ views on the implementation of the Mental Health Act 2001.
We posted questionnaires to 1200 general practitioners in Ireland seeking their views on their experiences with the Mental Health Act 2001.
Eight hundred and twenty general practitioners (68.3%) responded. Among those who provided comments, a majority (75.2%) provided negative comments. The most commonly occurring themes related to difficulties with transport of patients to inpatient facilities, form filling, time requirements and administrative matters. Other negative comments related to general practitioner recommendations for involuntary admission, training, mental health tribunals, applications for involuntary admission and the position of children. Minorities provided neutral (18.0%) or positive comments (6.8%), chiefly related to user-friendliness, transparency and improved communication.
General practitioners highlight a need for greater training and clear guidelines in relation to the Mental Health Act 2001. Their forthright responses demonstrate deep engagement with the new legislation and eagerness to see the Mental Health Act 2001 realise its full potential to improve the involuntary admission process and protect human rights, in the best interests of patients.
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