Thursday, 8 October 2015
Department of Health
Mental Health Services
147. To ask the Minister for Health the number of posts filled using the extra moneys committed to in the programme for Government for the enhancement of community-based mental health services, originally €35 million per year, by year, by the total number of posts targeted to be filled, by the total number filled and the total number still in the recruitment process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34999/15]
The Government has provided €125 million ring-fenced funding for mental health since 2012 to modernise services in line with A Vision for Change and Programme for Government commitments. A key focus has been additional posts to strengthen Community Mental Health Teams for both adults and children. This funding is also being used to enhance specialist community mental health services for older people with a mental illness, those with an intellectual disability and mental illness, the forensic mental health services, and suicide prevention initiatives. Some 1,150 new posts have been approved since 2012 of which 904.5 posts have been filled and 92.5 are at various stages of the recruitment process (as at end July 2015) as detailed below:
400.5 or 96% of the 416 development posts for 2012 have started;
427 or 88% of the 477.5 development posts for 2013 have started;
81 or 32% of the 251.5 development posts for 2014 have been recruited of which 77 had started by 31st July 2015, and a further 88.5 are at various stages of the recruitment process.
There are some difficulties in identifying some outstanding candidates, for geographic and qualification reasons. The HSE Mental Health Division is acutely aware of the need to focus on recruitment of frontline staff and is working closely with the Human Resources and the National Recruitment Service to address difficulties attracting candidates to particular parts of the country. A number of national and international recruitment campaigns are underway currently for medical consultant posts, senior and staff nurses as well as a range of required allied health professionals and support staff to deliver a multidisciplinary based Mental Health Service. Every effort is being made to fill the remainder of the approved posts as quickly as possible.
Following discussions between the Department of Health and the HSE around the allocation of the €35 million provided for mental health in 2015, the priority areas to be further enhanced and developed for the remainder of the year have been agreed and approved. The HSE is now progressing more detailed proposals and processes with local services, including the number of posts that may be recruited. It should be noted however, that not all the funding for 2015 will be used for posts. Priorities will also include a number of non-pay initiatives including the funding of external providers to supplement HSE service delivery.
Some of the funding will be used this year to improve safety and regulatory compliance of services, as well as funding enhanced service capacity, which was funded up to now through the use of time-related savings from previous years’ allocation.
148. To ask the Minister for Health the number of children under 18 years of age who have been placed in adult mental health inpatient units in each month of 2015 to date; when this practice will end; his views that the continuance of this practice constitutes an abuse of human rights; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35000/15]
As this is a service issue this question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply. If you have not received a reply within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office and they will follow up the matter with them.