Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 12 November 2015
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children
Child and Infant Mental Health: Discussion
I thank Professor Nugent and Ms Mitchell. It was inspired to combine a strong medical aspect and a process aspect in the discussion. It was an important mix. What jumped out at me in Ms Mitchell's presentation was the issue of gaps in services. It appears that the current policy, A Vision for Change, which will be ten years old next year, was not resourced adequately to achieve the transition from acute, long-term care in institutions with high walls and lock-up keys to the virtual ward in the community. The policy of filling those gaps based on natural wastage was retrograde. We have a transition from long-term residential care, during which we are waiting for a whole time equivalent, whether it be a domestic security man or woman or a gardener that will not be recruited to underpin the transition into the primary care team until someone reaches the age of 65. A policy, A Vision for Change, which provides for primary care - the virtual ward in the community - was rolled out, but it will not be resourced adequately until someone retires from the old system, at which point someone is recruited into the new system. It is at that point that there will be targeted investment into the team.
A total of €35 million was provided for it in the programme for Government. We will not go there because from the previous comment on the investment in primary care, the team itself would appear to be significantly short of what was set out in the policy.
I thought Professor Nugent's contribution was wonderful.