A Vision for Change recommended that a National Service User Executive (NSUE) be established to inform mental health policy makers and service providers on issues relating to user involvement and participation in planning, delivering, evaluating and monitoring services. Both the HSE and I fully recognise the importance of ensuring service user involvement in the on-going development of the NSUE and collaborated closely with the NSUE in the delivery of its remit.
However, due to difficulties with the previous NSUE model the HSE, in September 2013, commenced a consultation process with a range of stakeholders representing service users, family members and carers to seek to determine how the independent voices for service users, family members and carers will continue to be heard and heeded in the development and delivery of mental health services into the future.
This consultation led to the appointment of an interim Head of Service User, Family Member and Carer Engagement in January 2014 as a member of the HSE National Mental Health Management Team and a commitment to establish a Reference Group to work with the Management Team on the development of consultative and representative structures for service users, family members and carers to ensure that these perspectives consistently influence the development and delivery of mental health services.
The interim Head of Service User, Family Member and Carer Engagement has conducted a comprehensive series of 26 listening meetings around the country attended by more than 1,000 service users, family members, carers and members of the public as a preliminary step to the establishment of the Reference Group, and to help shape its agenda.
I remain committed to service user involvement and participation in planning, delivering, evaluating and monitoring of mental health services as envisaged in A Vision for Change.