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National Forensic Mental Health Service

Dr Sally Linehan and Dr Brenda Wright
National Forensic Mental Health Service
Central Mental Hospital
Dundrum, D14



General Information

The Central Mental Hospital is the only special security hospital in the Republic of Ireland.  The hospital provides treatment under conditions of special security for mentally disordered individuals who present with dangerous, violent or criminal propensities.  Patients are transferred from prisons and by the Courts under the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006.  A further group is referred by the local catchment area hospital under Section 21 of the Mental Health Act 2001.  

Patients are stratified according to risk into 3 Clusters, Acute, Medium and Recovery & Rehabilitation.  Risk is assessed using structured professional judgement tools.  Trainees have the opportunity to work within the hospital and the prisons.

Educational Objectives:

  1. To develop skills in clinical assessment, the use of psychological treatments and psychopharmacological treatments in forensic psychiatry.
  2. To develop skills in the assessment and management of risk and knowledge of the relationship between issues of confidentiality and public protection.
  3. To gain familiarity in the use of security as part of treatment and the issues involved in managing patients in conditions of security.
  4. To develop the ability to form clear opinions, to present those opinions in reports.
  5. To develop an understanding of the pathways through secure care and the links with the prison service.
  6. To gain an understanding of the provisions of the Mental Health Act 2001 and the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006.  
  7. To gain experience in assessing individuals for secure care
  8. To develop knowledge of the relationship between crime, substance misuse and mental disorder.
  9. To gain knowledge of the range of services available in the treatment of mentally disordered offenders and the roles and responsibilities of the different agencies involved in the criminal justice system. 


Participation in research is actively promoted in the Central Mental Hospital. There are opportunities for interested trainees to become involved in a variety of collaborative research projects.

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