Recruitment Crisis in Mental Health Services Demands Action
Mental Health Reform, the national coalition on mental health, has today demanded action on the recruitment crisis in mental health services, following the closure of 11 child and adolescent inpatient beds in the Linn Dara Unit at Cherry Orchard Hospital in Dublin.
Speaking this morning, Director of Mental Health Reform, Shari McDaid, said, “We are very troubled by the closure of 11 beds in Linn Dara because it means that children with highly complex and severe distress may end up being admitted to an adult ward for mental health treatment, which is in contravention of their human rights.”
Dr.McDaid said, “The closure of beds in Linn Dara is a symptom of a much wider problem. The HSE has been highlighting their difficulties in recruiting qualified staff and the consequent risk to delivery of mental health services for at least two years. There has been a consistent failure by Government to deliver on promised resources. CAMHS services are functioning at half the level of staffing required under the Government’s policy A Vision for Change. At the end of 2016, there were a total of 1,483 vacant posts across the mental health services, taking into account vacant development posts and service needs being covered by agency staff and overtime. There is a systemic lack of capacity to deliver on the Government’s own policy.”
Dr.McDaid continued, “Up until just last week, the Government had still not released to the HSE the €15m in development funding promised in budget 2017, which is still less than half of what is required annually to deliver on A Vision for Change. There has been systematic use of delayed expenditure, year in and year out, to slow down even the most inadequate resource commitments to mental health services. We are very concerned now that effective spending of these resources in 2017 will be impossible to achieve.”
“Urgent action is needed in order for the Government to show that it is responding to the very real crisis in the availability of mental health services,” concluded Dr. McDaid.