HSE Service Plan mental health commitments already at risk due to savings pressures

Mental Health Reform, the national coalition on mental health, today welcomes the aspirations set out in the HSE’s National Service Plan for 2019. Many of the objectives reflect Mental Health Reform’s pre-budget recommendations.

Commenting on the plan, Shari McDaid, Director, said, “We particularly welcome the HSE’s commitment to look at providing out-of-hours child and adolescent mental health services. We would expect that by the end of 2019 the HSE will have a costed implementation plan and timeframe for 7-day CAMHS. We also welcome the commitment to expand access to talking therapies for people using mental health services, the implementation of the CAMHS advocacy model, and implementation of the Youth Mental Health Taskforce recommendations on services for 18-25 year olds.”

“However, we are concerned that the HSE has flagged a risk of having to ration mental health services next year. The HSE Mental Health Services are being asked to find savings in the context of increasing demand.  Once again, as in recent years, the HSE Mental Health Services received no funding reflecting demographic pressures and unfunded services, estimated at €40M in 2018. The service plan implies that public mental health services will be rationed next year to focus on those most in need, suggesting that some people who should get mental health services will not have access. No doubt this will adversely affect provision of timely and quality services to people in mental distress. The requirement under the plan that the HSE must find savings also puts any new developments at risk.”



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