Thursday, 2 May 2013

Questions (220)

Robert Troy

Question:

220. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the progress that has been made in respect of the 2012 allocation of €35 million which was ring fenced but not spent; the additional community facilities that have been put in place; if this commitment has now been met; when the 2013 commitment of a further €35 million will be allocated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20859/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The special allocation of €35m provided in 2012 was for the provision of mental health services and was 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, and to facilitate the transfer of mental health service users from institutional to community based care. 414 posts were approved to implement the €35m package of special measures. As at 29th April, 383 of the 414 posts approved in 2012 have either been filled, are under offer or awaiting clearance. The National Recruitment Service (NRS) of the HSE creates national panels in anticipation of vacancies. On occasion however, it is difficult to fill some posts for various reasons including geographical location, international shortage of some grades, most notably clinical Psychologists etc. The NRS is currently working to ensure that the remaining posts will be filled as soon as possible, subject to appropriately qualified candidates being available.

A further €35m was provided in Budget 2013 for the continued development of mental health services across a range of headings, including the further ongoing development of community services and 477 posts have been approved to implement these measures. Discussions are ongoing within the HSE, and in consultation with the Department of Health to finalise the allocation of these resources and commence recruitment. Business cases from each HSE Region are being finalised and examined, 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 in the very near future with a view to recruitment of the additional staff proceeding as soon as possible.