New National Forensic Mental Health Service Hospital in Portrane

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The new, €220 million 175 bed National Forensic Mental Health Service Hospital in Portrane, Co. Dublin, which has been built on the campus of the former St. Ita’s Psychiatric Hospital in Portrane, replaces the 171 year-old Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum, Dublin.

National Forensic Mental Health Service Hospital in Portrane
National Forensic Mental Health Service Hospital in Portrane

Prof. Harry Kennedy is Executive Clinical Director of the new hospital.

It provides intensive psychiatric treatment and rehabilitation treatment in high, low, and medium-security conditions.

The National Forensic Mental Health Service Hospital also  provides an outpatient and community facility for assessments and some aftercare and supervision.

Patients are referred to the National Forensic Hospital for both assessment and residential treatment, by the courts, the prisons and local hospitals.

The new hospital has 130 beds (110 male and 20 female), a 30-bed forensic intensive care and rehabilitation unit (F-ICRU) and a  ten  bed forensic child and adolescent mental health unit (F-CAMHS).

The new hospital has 130 beds (110 male and 20 female), a 30-bed forensic intensive care and rehabilitation unit (F-ICRU) and a  ten  bed forensic child and adolescent mental health unit (F-CAMHS)

All rooms in the new hospital are single and en-suite.  There are 40 acute and sub-acute beds, including intensive care, 30 medium-term beds and 20 pre-discharge beds for the male mental illness pathway. 

In addition, there will be 20 medium-term forensic mental health and intellectual and developmental disorder places, to cope with the demands on the hospital for services for patients  with autistic disorder.

There will be 21 full time consultants attached to the  new hospital – 17 in Portrane, one full time in Castlerea prison, one in the Midlands Prison, one in Cloverhill Prison and one in Mountjoy prison in Dublin. There are also psychiatric in-reach teams in Cork and Limerick prisons.

The service- which is fully accredited by the College of Psychiatrists in Ireland for training purposes –  will have 19  Basic Specialist Trainees (BSTs) and three Higher Surgical Trainees(HSTs), increasing further to five HSTs including forensic child psychiatry and forensic mental health intellectual disability.

The Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum, which was established as the first secure hospital in Europe, opened as the Central Criminal Lunatic Asylum for Ireland in 1850.

It was opened on foot of the Criminal Lunatic Asylum (Ireland) Act 1845 from the London Parliament and pre-dated the opening of Broadmoor Hospital in England by 11 years. The Dundrum site, which covers 32 acres, was said to be originally chosen on the basis that it would be soothing to mentally ill patients.  It was intentionally not linked to any particular prison service to maintain the distinction between criminality and illness.