In 2012, €5m was made available from the special allocation of €35m for mental health to initiate the provision of psychological and counselling services in primary care, specifically for people with mental health problems who are eligible under the General Medical Services Scheme. A further €2.5m was provided for this initiative from the additional €35m provided for mental health in 2013.
The HSE’s National Service Plan 2012 provided for the replication nationally of the model operational in the HSE's North East Area, managed by the HSE National Counselling Service, as a way of meeting the requirement to improve access to psychological therapies in Primary Care.
To implement the model nationally, an additional Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) Counsellor Co-ordinator post was allocated to each of the ten HSE National Counselling Services. These Counsellors will be responsible for the set-up, roll out, management, monitoring and evaluation of the Model, including relationship development with GPs in their areas.
All of the Counsellor Co-Ordinator posts have been filled with start dates over the next number of weeks. It is expected that the start date for the service will vary according to when the Counsellor Co-Ordinator takes up the post but it is expected that the first services will be available from the end of the second quarter of this year.
In relation to the specific questions in relation to the Service, as this is a service matter, I have referred the question to the HSE for direct reply.