Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (1681)

Pat Buckley


1681. Deputy Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Health the details of the telehealth pilot sites for mental health services. [33756/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The information is as follows:

Telecounselling Pilots

The HSE, working in close collaboration Turn2Me.org, is currently undertaking two pilot projects exploring the potential to develop the use of online 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 synchronous (instant) text messaging. 

Pilot 1: GP Referral commenced in November 2018 with service users in the South Wicklow area offered the opportunity to avail of free online counselling at a location of their choice. Uptake has been low initially.  In response to this, a GP recruitment event took place in collaboration with the Irish College of General Practitioners in May 2019.  From this, 67 GP practices expressed interest in participating in a phase II of this pilot which will commence later in June 2019 and run until end 2019.

Pilot 2: CIPC Waiting List Alleviation commenced in February 2019 wherein service users in Galway/Mayo region (CHO2) currently on the waiting list for Counselling in Primary Care (CIPC) services were contacted and offered the opportunity to avail of free online counselling to address mild to moderate mental health difficulties.  This pilot was extended to the Cork/Kerry region (CHO4), however, resource limitations have limited engagement.  Turn2Me are due to submit a report on work to date at end of June, however, early indications suggest greater uptake by those closer to point of referral.

Telepsychiatry Pilots

Four telepsychiatry pilots are now being undertaken in collaboration with videoDoc.  These pilots encompass the conducting of remote psychiatric consultations to address the following:

(1) Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service waiting lists in Wexford/Waterford region (CHO 5).

(2) Demand for specialist adolescent addiction and substance abuse service (nationwide).

(3) Adult mental health service demands within Galway/Mayo region (CHO 2).

(4) Demand for services for child and adolescents with intellectual disabilities in Kerry/Cork region (CHO 4).

 This work formally commenced in February 2019.