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NPIRS - National Psychiatric In-patient Reporting System

From July 2014, NPIRS data is now available in a series of interactive tables which are hosted on the CSO website at the link

When analysing this data for any particular year(s) you must consult the background notes that accompany the tables for that year. These notes contain important information, such as hospital closures, hospital openings and other changes which may affect year on year comparisons.

Screenshot showing available interactive tables on the CSO website as of July 2014

History of the NPIRS database

The NPIRS database is the only national psychiatric inpatient database in Ireland. It was established in 1963, arising from the recommendations of the report of the Commission of Enquiry on Mental Illness (Department of Health, 1966). It has been maintained by the Medico-Social Research Board (MSRB) and subsequently, the Health Research Board (HRB), since 1971.

The database records data on all admissions to, and discharges from, psychiatric inpatient facilities in Ireland annually. The publication of annual reports (Activities of Irish Psychiatric Services) on the NPIRS data since 1965, plays a central role in service delivery and planning. Regional newsletters, presenting data on individual health boards, have been produced since 2000. The NPIRS database structure is also used as the basis for carrying out decennial censuses of the inpatient population, the most recent of which was carried out in 2006. The results of this census are available in the report Irish Psychiatric Units and Hospitals Census 2006 (Daly, A. & Walsh, D. 2006).

The NPIRS database is also used as the basis for epidemiological research on mental illness. You can view all mental health related publications at this link.

Data Collection Process

Data are collected from psychiatric in-patient facilities around the country, including psychiatric hospitals, general hospital psychiatric units, private hospitals, children's centres and the Central Mental Hospital, Dundrum.
Data are returned on a quarterly basis to the Mental Health Information Systems Unit (MHIS) of the Health Research Board either electronically or manually, according to agreed specifications. Administrative, nursing and medical personnel play a vital role in the completion and return of data.

Ninety-three per cent of data returns are in electronic format. With the manual system, completed forms are returned to personnel at the MHIS in accordance with procedures and practices established over a number of years. Personnel at the Health Research Board code and process the data and maintain ongoing liaison with hospital personnel. While many hospitals use their own information systems to return data, the MHIS has developed the HRB Patient Administration System (PAS) to facilitate the collection of data for NPIRS. This has been installed in a number of hospitals around the country with back-up support being provided by the MHIS.

What information is collected?

The National Psychiatric Inpatient Reporting System (NPIRS) is a national psychiatric inpatient database, which provides detailed information on all admissions and discharges to inpatient psychiatric services in Ireland. 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/discharge, legal category, order of admission, diagnosis on admission and discharge in accordance with the WHO International Classification of Diseases categories (ICD 10).


Requests for data

More detailed analysis of the data is available on request by clinicians, service planners, hospital personnel, local health managers managers, students, researchers etc, who may require more specific information. A completed data request form, available below, should be returned to the MHIS Unit, requesting more detailed analyses. Before completing this form it is advisable that persons requesting data consult, in the first instance, the document 'Privacy and Confidentiality Policy' relating to data held in the Mental Health Information Systems Unit (MHIS) including procedures for the request and release of data to ascertain what data may be requested and by whom. It is also advisable when requesting data to consult the document 'Information for Users of the National Psychiatric Inpatient Reporting System (NPIRS) data'. This document outlines the data available from the NPIRS database over the years.

NPIRS Data Request Form

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