Mental Health Reform has today (18/12/2013) expressed frustration that the delivery of promised mental health funding for 2013 and 2014 will be subject to delays. The HSE National Service Plan 2014, published today, indicates that certain initiatives, including the appointment of new staff for community mental health teams allocated for 2013 and 2014, will be “specifically targeted towards the latter half of 2014 to allow … savings to be utilised on specific services on a timing delayed basis.”
Shari McDaid, Director of Mental Health Reform, commented: “Unfortunately, mental health needs do not operate on a ‘timing delayed basis’, and the decision to delay until the latter half of 2014 the appointment of next year’s promised 250-280 new staff and the remaining staff due from 2013 will have a real human cost. Yet again, we are seeing mental health services suffer the drip-drip effect of delays.”
Dr McDaid continued: “Any further slow-down in the development of our community-based mental health services has to be seen in the context of a service that is already under strain. At the end of September 2013, 413 children had been waiting more than a year for a first appointment. The demand on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services is running at 13% above the anticipated level, while research published this year by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland shows that children and young people in Ireland have a higher rate of mental disorder than elsewhere in Europe or the USA.”
“It is well documented that mental health services lost a disproportionate number of staff during the economic recession, at the same time that demand for services increased. Failure to appoint new staff in a timely manner will result in people in severe distress having to wait longer for psychological therapy and other supports.”
“We are pleased to hear that the HSE will be producing an implementation plan for the final years of A Vision for Change. The lack of a plan was identified by Mental Health Reform as a gap, hindering progress. The introduction of a performance indicator on psychological therapies within the implementation plan would be welcome. It is also important that the plan includes costs and time-lines, and contains clear targets and performance indicators. It needs to cover the full range of recommendations in A Vision for Change that fall under the responsibility of the HSE”, concluded Dr McDaid.
For more information or to arrange an interview with Mental Health Reform Director Shari McDaid please contact: Lara Kelly firstname.lastname@example.org 087 6189715
Notes to the Editor:
Mental Health Reform is a national coalition of 39 member organisations and promotes improved and prioritised mental health services in Ireland. www.mentalhealthreform.ie–