Tuesday, 13 July 2021
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
Mental Health Services
43. To ask the Minister for Health the reason funding was not provided for a service (details supplied) to ensure that it is fully staffed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28726/21]
This question relates to the funding of the e-Mental Health Hub in Castlerea, County Roscommon, in my constituency. While events have superseded this given the fact that this funding has now been announced, halfway through the year, which I acknowledge and welcome very much, I want to know why the funding did not come into place last January, rather than halfway through the year as it is now.
I propose to take Questions Nos. 43 and 48 together.
The Government is committed to the ongoing and future development of the Castlerea Mental Health Hub in Castlerea, County Roscommon. The project is one of three child and adolescent mental health services, CAMHS, Connect initiatives planned. The others are in Limerick and Cork. This project was announced in June 2020 with two main elements identified for development - a new child and adolescent mental health service Connect day hospital and a psychiatry of later life day hospital. In 2020, €800,000 was invested in development capital works, refurbishment and staffing recruitment by the HSE. For 2021, 14 posts have been approved and €1.4 million allocated from within the overall allocation for mental health. Release of funding is imminent, and local services have approval to proceed with further development this year.
For the CAMHS Connect day hospital, provision has been made for staffing to include a consultant psychiatrist, a non-consultant hospital director, an advanced nurse practitioner, a senior social worker, a clinical nurse specialist, a senior psychologist and an occupational therapist. The consultant psychiatrist and non-consultant hospital director are in place and the advanced nurse practitioner and social worker are scheduled to start at the end of the summer. Recruitment for the other posts will start immediately.
I thank the Minister of State, but I must ask the question again. I appreciate that a large amount of money went into developing this centre last year. It was opened in June 2020 and funding was made available for four posts. The remaining funding was to be put in place from 2021. The four posts were put in place and people were hired. Then the funding was pulled or ended in some way at the end of 2020. It is only now in July 2021 that funding has been put in place. These are critical services for young people throughout the western region, even beyond County Roscommon.
They are critical services for older people. It is not good enough that I have had to raise this issue repeatedly. I have sent several emails and I have met the head of mental health services. I have raised this repeatedly. I have not received a reply to an email I sent to the Minister of State in May on this funding, which is regrettable and disappointing. I do not want to see us here next year looking for this funding again. Why was it not put in place in January?
There is no story here. This is a fantastic initiative that was put in place by my predecessor last year when the Rosalie nursing home, which dealt with many people with dementia, had to close. Castlerea mental health hub was put in place. It is a fantastic initiative. Last year, €800,000 was made available, with €400,000 for refurbishment and €400,000 for staffing expenditure. There is no story here. The Castlerea hub will be extended. It will be an absolutely fantastic initiative. From the point of view of what it will do, the roll-out nationally of the three CAMHS e-mental health hubs in Castlerea, Limerick and Cork will significantly enhance overall CAMHS provision, including improved early intervention and monitoring of cases. In this region, the Castlerea hub will operate in partnership with a day hospital in Galway on a seven-day basis, which I have discussed with the Minister of State, Deputy Rabbitte. This will provide young people in counties Galway, Roscommon, Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim with a real alternative to inpatient care.