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National Psychiatric In-Patient Reporting System (NPIRS): Hospital Census


Health Research Board

Subject Keywords: Hospital, Census, In-patient, Psychiatric
Topic: Mental Health
Catalogue: Data
Primary Data Sources
Type: Data
Region: Republic of Ireland

The Hospital Census records all patients resident at midnight on 31st March of the year in question in all psychiatric in-patient facilities around the country (including psychiatric hospitals, general hospital psychiatric units, private hospitals, child and adolescent units, and the Central Mental Hospital, Dundrum) on the Register of Approved Centres under the Mental Health Act 2001. All patients on the books in hospitals and units, including those on leave, are also enumerated in the census; patients who are on the books but absent on the night of census are still enumerated, but are not recorded as resident on the night. Data collected include demographic data and clinical/ diagnostic information.


  Like the NPIRS database, the Hospital Census database plays an important role in mental health policy, planning and management. It gives a snapshot of in-patient resident numbers and their characteristics on a particular night. Due to the accelerated move to community psychiatric services, it was felt that an earlier appreciation of the impact of such changes on in-patient resident numbers and characteristics was needed and thus a census was carried out on 31st March 2006 after an interval of just 5 years. Following an agreement with the Mental Health Commission, the HRB agreed to carry out a Hospital Census every 3 years
Key Variables ID Other (includes any form of unique identifier other than PPSN); Sex; DOB; County (refers to the collection of details of address at the level of county, usually one of the
32 counties in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland); Occupation; Labour Force Status; Marital Status
Unit Of Observation Patient resident in psychiatric hospital on the night in question
Frequency Every 3 years since 2010
Target Population Patient resident in psychiatric hospital on the night in question
Format Individual case data
Method Data are computerised. For the first time in 2010, much of the Hospital Census data was ‘drawn down’ from existing records on the HRB’s NPIRS database.



Rights: © Government of Ireland
Suggested citation:

Health Research Board. (2013) National Psychiatric In-Patient Reporting System (NPIRS): Hospital Census [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 23rd September 2019].


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