Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children

Child and Infant Mental Health: Discussion

9:30 am

Photo of Colm BurkeColm Burke (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I thank the witnesses for the comprehensive and detailed presentations this morning. Many of the points I wished to mention have already been raised and I will not go over them. Ms Mitchell gave a very comprehensive presentation on staff shortages and the difficulty with recruitment, . Is information available as to why we are finding it so difficult to recruit? Is it a shortage of people with qualifications or is there a problem with salaries or structure? What issues have been identified in the difficulty in recruiting? This takes in medical practitioners, consultants, junior doctors, nursing staff and social workers.

Have the reasons for these difficulties been identified? It has been suggested that we have met just 50% of our staff target. What would happen if we wanted to recruit the other 50% in the morning? Obviously, we would have difficulties in certain areas. The witnesses might refer to the key areas where we are having difficulties.

Do we have difficulties in different areas because of management structures? Is there a problem with the management and with who is in charge? Has that been identified? This is very important. The Chairman and I are aware that great progress has been made in one part of a health area, but there is significant resistance to change in the adjoining area. The issue of change is relevant because we are changing our approach to many areas. Have the witnesses found that there is resistance to change from people who are already in the service? Have we identified a way of dealing with that issue? I am raising this issue because I do not think we can provide a service unless the necessary personnel are available. If we are having difficulty in getting personnel, we should look at the reasons this problem is arising.

The committee received a presentation on young people earlier. Professor Nugent spoke about the need to support children at a very young age. When we speak about supporting young children, we are usually talking about the mother and the father. If a mother who is on her own is not getting any support from her immediate family, does that have a knock-on effect on the child? Has any research shown that there is a knock-on effect? How can we work to provide support to a mother who finds herself on her own? How can we help her to give her child the same support and the same chances as any other child who has full backing and full financial support? It is an interesting issue that Professor Nugent might touch on.


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