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Written Answers - Mental Health Services

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 No. 3

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 504.  Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  the implications of the further reductions in staffing levels due to take place between now and the end of February 2012 on the provision of mental health services in County Kerry; the number of staff involved, the number that have left since 2009; if there will be bed closures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6492/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch As this is a service matter the question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

 505.  Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  the implications of the further reductions in staffing levels due to take place between now and the end of February 2012 on the provision of mental health services in Ireland; the number of staff involved, the number that have left since 2009; if there will be bed closures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6493/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch A Vision for Change recommended the closure of the old psychiatric hospitals and a move from the traditional institutional based model of care to a patient-centred, flexible and community based mental health service, where the need for hospital admission is greatly reduced, while still providing in-patient care when appropriate.

This Government is committed to implementing A Vision for Change and reforming our model of healthcare delivery so that more and better quality care is delivered in the community. This commitment was clearly shown in Budget 2012 with a special allocation of €35m for mental health in line with the Programme for Government. Funding from this special allocation will be used primarily to strengthen Community Mental Health Teams in both Adult and Children’s mental health services, improve access to psychological therapies in primary care and implement suicide prevention strategies in line with Reach Out — the National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention.The HSE Service Plan for 2012 provides for the recruitment of over 400 staff to the mental health service to deliver on these objectives.

Although final figures are not yet available, 436 mental health staff have indicated their intention to leave our mental health services by the end of February 2012. In March 2009, the mental health workforce was 9,972 WTEs and the HSE’s National Service Plan 2012 projected that at the start of January 2012 there would be 9,207 staff in the mental health services. The HSE’s Service Plan includes a commitment to reduce acute in-patient capacity by a minimum of 153 beds nationally in 2012, in line with the recommendations of A Vision for Change. A key [533]priority for the HSE is the reconfiguration of acute in-patient services and the redeployment of staff resources away from old institutional settings or over-provision of acute in-patient beds towards community based services.


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