17 Oct 2018, 12.05
The Joint Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care published its final report today, Wednesday, 17 October.
The report is the culmination of the Committee’s work since it was established in July 2017, with the task of achieving cross-party agreement on the implementation of a single, long-term vision for mental health care in Ireland.
The report builds on the Committee’s two Interim Reports, the first of which identified primary care, recruitment and funding as three key areas of focus and this has remained the focus of the Committee throughout.
The Committee’s Second Interim Report set out the Committee’s analysis of the realities and challenges in relation to each of its three main objectives and also recommended actions.
Speaking today, Committee Chair, Senator Joan Freeman, said, “The Committee is proud to publish its final report today, having come to cross-party agreement on what we believe must to be done to ensure the provision of a comprehensive mental healthcare service in Ireland. This final report is a summation of our work and also sets out the direction we believe mental health policy should take in this country. It makes practical recommendations, backed up by expert testimony from a wide range of stakeholders.”
“Lack of funding remains arguably the biggest obstacle to an effective mental health service. The Committee welcomes aspirations towards moving to 7/7 care and subsequently 24/7 care, but we are consistently disappointed that funding and consequent recruitment is not increased sufficiently to enable this. It is extremely difficult to recruit and retain staff in the demanding field of mental health care provision and we heard from the front line that staff can too often feel demoralised by their working conditions. ”
“12 years on since the publishing of A Vision for Change, its implementation has been partial and hindered. Designated funds were too often lost to other parts of the health service and delivery structures were not appropriately adjusted and supported. The Committee hopes that this report will be used in the process of regenerating the Irish mental health service.”
Key recommendations include:
• The Committee recommends that the possibility of special allowances for psychiatric nurses and psychiatrists be looked at by Government, as these roles were identified by the Public Sector Pay Commission as being among those which are particularly challenging to recruit.
• The Committee recommends, as an interim measure, that the number of acute beds should be increased from 22 to 50 per 100,000 over the next 3 years, reaching the European average (which is close to 70) in a further 2 years.
• The Committee recommends, in agreement with Mental Health Reform, that a “no wrong door” approach should be embedded in Irish health services so that the onus is on services to ensure treatment for people presenting with problems.
Read the report here
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