Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (655)

Robert Troy


655. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if he will outline the position regarding the 2012, €35 million ring fenced allocation for community mental health; the amount spent in community mental health during 2012; the number of the promised professionals who have been hired to date; provide a clear commitment that any unspent moneys will be spent together with the 2013 €35 million allocation this year; his plans for this year and a time frame for implementation of same. [8066/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In 2012, a special allocation of €35m was provided for mental health to be used primarily to further strengthen Community Mental Health Teams in both adult and children’s mental health services, to advance activities in the area of suicide prevention, to initiate the provision of psychological and counselling services in primary care, specifically for people with mental health problems and to facilitate the re-location of mental health service users from institutional care to more independent living arrangements in their communities, in line with A Vision for Change.

414 posts were approved to implement the €35m package of special measures. As at 30th January 2013, 204 posts have been filled (i.e. an employment contract has issued and is signed with a start date agreed) and the remainder are at various stages of selection. The majority of these posts are expected to be filled by end March 2013. Full year costs for all these posts will be met from HSE 2013 base allocation.

Budgetary pressures within the HSE delayed the full utilisation of this funding, but this sum is now available to mental health services along with an additional €35m allocated in Budget 2013 for the continued development of our mental health services. The HSE National Service Plan 2013 commits to a number of objectives including the further development of forensics and community mental health teams for adults, children, older persons and mental health intellectual disability and to the recruitment of 477 additional staff to implement these measures.

In order to ensure that the additional resources will be used to best effect, discussions are ongoing within the HSE, and in consultation with the Department of Health, to finalise the allocation of these resources. Each HSE Region is being asked to submit a business case against each of the identified objectives detailing how the funding is to be spent and the type and number of WTE to be recruited. It is expected that this process will be concluded by end March 2013. I have been assured by the HSE that the recruitment process for the new posts being funded in 2013 and any outstanding posts from the 414 approved in 2012 is being given priority within the HSE.