Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Joint Committee On Health

General Scheme of the Mental Health (Amendment) Bill 2021: Department of Health

Mr. James Kelly:

Recommendation No. 92 in the Sharing the Vision policy refers to "zero restraint, zero seclusion" and relates to a review of the Act. The policy and the legislation are, therefore, very much entwined with each other. Sharing the Vision is a ten-year strategy and nine years of it remain. We have included the parts on restrictive practices and tried to bring in some additional safeguards. There is an understanding that we want to minimise restraint as much as possible, to the point where we will no longer need it. It is a stepping down process, however, and additional resources, training and so forth must be put into place in approved centres to ensure that all staff and residents feel safe. Over the lifetime of Sharing the Vision, we will move towards a "zero restraint, zero seclusion" policy but, for the interim, it is important to include safeguards. As the Senator said, we have to provide for last-resort scenarios. While we are heading towards the policy, we are not there yet so we must provide for these at some level. What we are trying to do is ensure there are safeguards in place while it is still permitted.