The last Government provided additional ring-fenced mental health funding of €160 million over 2012 to 2016 inclusive. In 2015, the National Service Plan Budget for mental health was €791 million and the outturn was €785 million. The €826 million budget for mental health in the 2016 National Service Plan therefore represents an increase of €41 million or 5.2% over the 2015 outturn. The 2016 budget includes €35 million in heldback funding for new developments.
The €35m allocation for mental health will fund new service developments. The HSE National Service Plan 2016 identifies priorities for allocation of the €35 million, including the continued development of early intervention and counselling services across both primary and secondary care; the provision of 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; services for Psychiatry of Later Life; Perinatal Mental Health, and two new mental health clinical programmes, specifically for ADHD in Adults and Children, and for Dual Diagnosis of those with Mental Illness and Substance Misuse. The Department of Health is currently examining proposals from the HSE relating to the development of these specific enhanced priority services, as well as proposals for the ongoing development of a range of existing and new specialist mental health services. It is expected that a decision on the release of the 2016 development funding will be made shortly.
Staff recruitment is a key element of these developments. I am informed that, as staff recruitment takes time, the 2016 HSE National Service Plan envisages that time-related savings of approximately €12m from the mental health development funding will be used, on a once-off basis, to maintain services in home care and transitional care beds, and for vaccine procurement. The detailed use of all development funding is currently being examined and will be the subject of decisions shortly.