Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Questions (581)

Colm Keaveney

Question:

581. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Health the number of the 477 posts for community mental health services committed to in the Health Service Executive National Service Plan 2013 that have been filled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20938/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Following on from the investment in mental health in 2012, a further additional €35 million was provided in Budget 2013 for the continued development of mental health services across a range of headings, including the further development of forensic services 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.

Of the posts approved in 2013, as end-March 2014, 468 or 98% of the posts had been allocated, of which 267 or 56% of appointees were in post by end-March. A further 26 new staff have agreed start dates after 31st March. The remainder of the positions are at different stages in the recruitment process.

There are, however, a number of posts for which there are difficulties in identifying suitable candidates due to factors including availability of qualified candidates and geographic location. The HSE's National Recruitment Service is currently working to ensure that the remaining posts will be filled as soon as possible, from existing panels or through competition in the absence of panels, at the earliest opportunity. Options to enable more local recruitment are also being considered where this will assist in filling specific posts. I have received assurances from the HSE that the recruitment process for these posts is being given priority within the HSE.