To ask the Minister for Health if he will confirm when the new staff for community mental health services sector will be appointed; the progress of the Government in enhancing community mental health services; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Seán Kyne T.D.
In 2012, a special allocation of €35m was provided for mental health to be used primarily to further strengthen Community Mental Health Teams in both adult and children’s mental health services, to advance activities in the area of suicide prevention, to initiate the provision of psychological and counselling services in primary care, and to facilitate the transfer of mental health service users from institutional to community based care. 414 posts were approved to implement the €35m package of special measures.
As at 22nd April, 338 of the 414 posts have been filled (229 for Adult Mental Health Services and 109 for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) and 40 posts have been accepted and are being processed for clearance. The National Recruitment Service of the HSE is currently working to ensure that remaining posts will be filled as soon as possible, subject to appropriately qualified candidates being available.
A further €35m was provided in Budget 2013 for the continued development of mental health services across a range of headings, including the further ongoing development of community services and 477 posts have been approved to implement these measures. Discussions are ongoing within the HSE, and in consultation with the Department of Health to finalise the allocation of these resources and commence recruitment. Business cases from each HSE Region are being finalised and examined, against each of the identified objectives, detailing how the funding is to be spent and the type and number of WTE to be recruited. It is expected that this process will be concluded in the very near future with a view to recruitment of the additional staff proceeding as soon as possible.
I have received assurances from the HSE that the recruitment process for the new posts being funded in 2013, and any outstanding 2012 posts, is being given priority within the HSE.