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Irish Psychiatric Units and Hospitals Census

The NPIRS database structure is used as the basis for carrying out censuses of the inpatient population. The first census took place in 1963 and decennially thereafter in 1971, 1981, 1991 and 2001. Due to the accelerated move to the provision of community psychiatric services, inter alia, it was felt that an earlier appreciation of the impact of such changes on inpatient resident numbers and characteristics was needed. Accordingly, more regular censuses are now conducted. Census reports were produced for 2006 and 2010. The next Census is planned for 2013.

The Irish Psychiatric Census records all patients resident at midnight on 31 March of the year in question in psychiatric hospitals, general hospital psychiatric units, private hospitals and childrens centres, operating under the provisions of the Mental Health Act 2001. All patients on the books in hospitals and units, including those on leave, are enumerated in the census.

What information is collected?

Data collected include demographic data relating to each patient, such as gender, date of birth, marital status, address from which admitted and socio-economic group, along with clinical and diagnostic information, such as date of admission, legal category on admission and on census night, order of admission, diagnosis on admission in accordance with the WHO International Classification of Diseases categories (ICD 10).

Census figures are used extensively for health service management, planning and for policy development and research.