Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Ceisteanna (502)

Bobby Aylward


502. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health his plans to ensure that career opportunities in the mental health service are appealing to graduates in the key areas of psychiatry, psychology, family therapy and other mental health roles to ensure that such graduates compete for posts in the Irish mental health service as opposed to abroad; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14987/16]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Additional ring-fenced mental health funding of €160 million was provided over the years 2012 to 2016 inclusive. Up to 1,150 posts have already been filled up to end 2015 from the developmental funding provided since 2012 with 270 posts approved for the Child & Adolescent Services.

Mental Health services are being developed in line with A Vision for Change and Programme for Government commitments. In 2016, it is proposed to advance the following development priorities from the additional funding: continued development of counselling services across both primary and secondary care including the provision of three new Jigsaw mental health services in Cork, Dublin city centre and Limerick; the continued development of Community Mental Health teams; improved 24/7 response and Liaison Services; Psychiatry of Later Life; Perinatal Mental Health, and two new mental health clinical programmes, specifically ADHD in Adults and Children and Dual Diagnosis of those with Mental Illness and Substance Misuse.

The HSE has the ability to recruit where funding exists to facilitate that recruitment; for example in the case of funded replacement posts or where additional funding has been allocated for new positions under the HSE service plan. Recruitment can also take place in areas of critical care and emergency services.

There is an international nursing and medical manpower shortage, leading to difficulties in recruiting nurses, doctors and consultants. This difficulty is being experienced by other English speaking countries including the UK, Australia, and Canada. The ability of the HSE and the health service to attract and retain high quality frontline staff shapes the extent to which the HSE can maintain and develop the range of health services required.

The MacCraith Group, established in 2013 to carry out a strategic review of medical training and career structures, made a series of recommendations aimed at improving the retention of medical graduates in the public health system and planning for future needs. The implementation of the Group's recommendations is being actively pursued and monitored.

As the question is a service issue and in order to answer the question more fully, I have asked the HSE to respond in more detail to the Deputy directly on the issues raised above. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and they will follow up the matter with them.