In February 2018, the Court of Appeal delivered its judgement in an appeal against a ruling of the High Court that the refusal of medical staff to release a voluntary patient from a psychiatric institution when he expressed a wish to leave was not unlawful.

When the matter came on for hearing, the Court was told that following a psychotic episode at his home on August 26, 2011, PL became a voluntary patient at St Patrick’s University Hospital; he was admitted to the Special Care Unit (SCU) where on the following day he was examined by a consultant psychiatrist. A care plan was devised, which involved close observation and medication.

PL remained a voluntary patient until September 13, 2011, when he expressed a desire to leave the hospital. The provisions of sections 23 and 24 of the Mental Health Act, 2001 (the Act) were invoked by the hospital. An Admission Order was signed by Dr Séamus Ó Ceallaigh, Consultant Psychiatrist, on the following day authorising his detention. The Order was the subject of a review by a Mental Health Tribunal (Tribunal) on September 27, 2011, when it was affirmed.

This is an extract from : Irish Medical Times