Thursday, 8 November 2012

Ceisteanna (28, 319)

Robert Troy


28. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the action he has taken to develop mental health services for young persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46715/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan


319. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if he is satisfied regarding the adequacy of child psychiatric or psychological services; the extent to which such services can meet the demand; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49148/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 28 and 319 together.

The development of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) has been prioritised by the HSE in recent years and considerable progress has been made to date. A special allocation of €35 million was provided in Budget 2012 for mental health, in line with commitments in the Programme for Government. Funding from this special allocation will be used primarily to strengthen Community Mental Health Teams in both Adult and Children’s mental health services by ensuring, at a minimum, that at least one of each mental health professional discipline is represented on every team. Of the 414 posts approved to implement the €35 million package, 150 will be allocated to Child and Adolescent Community Mental Health Teams. The National Recruitment Service of the HSE is currently working to recruit the necessary personnel and the posts are at various stages in the recruitment process. It is hoped that the bulk of the appointments will be made by the end of the year.

It is envisaged that the completion of the multi-disciplinary profile of current teams will facilitate further progress on the reduction in the waiting lists for CAMHS services. It is worth noting that despite an increase in demand for such services, the number of children waiting for an appointment reduced by 12% in the 12 month period to June 2012.

In terms of in-patient facilities, psychiatric bed capacity for children and adolescents has increased from 12 beds in 2007 to 44 at present - 12 in Dublin, 12 in Cork and 20 in Galway. Work on the second phase of the Child and Adolescent Unit at St. Vincent's Hospital, Fairview has recently been completed and this will increase capacity from 12 to 18 beds in Dublin by the end of 2012. The increase in bed capacity in recent years is reflected in an almost 50% decrease in admissions of children to adult units since 2008.

The Linn Dara Child and Adolescent Mental Health Facility at Cherry Orchard, Dublin has recently opened and a number of Child and Adolescent Community Mental Health Teams have moved in to the new premises. It is expected that the Day Hospital will be in operation by the end of the year. Thj HSE is also seeking tenders from contractors as part of the process to develop a 22 bed Child and Adolescent in-patient facility on the Cherry Orchard site. The closing date for receipt of tenders is 22nd November.

Finally, a 10 bed Child and Adolescent Forensic Mental Health Unit will be provided as part of the National Forensic Mental Health Project. The Unit will be based in Portrane, co-terminus with the new Central Mental Hospital which is expected to be operational by 2016.