Thursday, 11 July 2019

Questions (671)

James Browne


671. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the details of the telehealth pilot sites for mental health services. [31240/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Both the Department of Health and the HSE are committed to progressing e-mental health initiatives. The HSE is currently running a number of pilot schemes within the fields of tele-counselling and tele-psychiatry.

The HSE, working in close collaboration with, is currently undertaking two six-month national pilot projects exploring the potential to develop the use of online tele-counselling. All counselling sessions are conducted on a secure encrypted cloud-based platform, and can be conducted through video, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) telephone calls, or through instant text messaging.

- Pilot 1 commenced in November 2018 and is being trialled with South Wicklow area-based service users. The pilot has progressed to the stage where GPs are issuing their patients with access details.

- Pilot 2 is currently in progress in the Galway/Mayo region (CHO2). In Galway, patients on the waiting list are being written to by CAMHS teams, to be offered the opportunity to avail of free online counselling.

Additionally, four tele-psychiatry pilots are now being undertaken by the HSE. These pilots are conducting remote psychiatric consultations to address a variety of different needs and demands.

- Pilot 1 will address the needs of people on CAMHS waiting lists in the Wexford/Waterford region (CHO 5).

- Pilot 2 will focus on the demand for specialist adolescent addiction and substance abuse service.

- Pilot 3 will address adult mental health service demands within the Galway/Mayo region (CHO 2).

- Pilot 4 will engage with the demand for services for children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities in Kerry/Cork region (CHO 4).

In conclusion, I am satisfied with the HSE's work in piloting different types of e-mental health treatments and can assure the Deputy of my own commitment to the further development of e-mental health initiatives.