Mental Health Policy

To ask the Minister for Health and Children if she will support the following matter (details supplied). – Dan Neville

REPLY.

‘A Vision for Change’ has been Goverment policy since it was launched in January 2006 and the Renewed Programme for Government re-affirms the Government’s commitment to that policy.

In 2009, the Board of the Health Service Executive (HSE) approved an Implementation Plan for ‘A Vision for Change’ for the period 2009 – 2013. The development of Community Mental Health Centres in Primary Care Centres will enhance the working relationship between community based mental health teams and primary care teams. In addition, the HSE has worked closely with the Irish College of General Practitioners to advance a number of initiatives focussing on the vital role played by primary care in the provision of mental healthcare in Ireland. These include the appointment of a Project Officer, the development of a Resource Pack & Distance Learning Course for GPs and the development with Dublin City University of a ‘Team based approaches to mental health in primary care’ training course, for primary care team professionals.

In relation to mental health care facilities for children and adolescents, the number of in-patient psychiatric beds for children and adolescents has increased from 12 in 2007 to 30 at the end of 2009. In addition two purpose built 20 bed units in Cork and Galway are scheduled to open in 2010 which will increase the overall number of beds to 52. Work has also commenced recently on Linn Dara, a Child and Adolescent Day Hospital in Cherry Orchard, Dublin which is due for completion in September 2011. Also of relevance is the Mental Health Commission addendum to the code of practice relating to the admission of children under the Mental Health Act 2001 which provides that:

No child under 17 years is to be admitted to an adult unit in an approved centre from 1st December 2010; and

No child under 18 years is to be admitted to an adult unit in an approved centre from 1st December 2011.

Regarding amendments to the Mental Health Act 2001, it is anticipated that a general scheme of a Mental Health (Amendment) Bill 2010 will be submitted to Government within the next few weeks. The Bill will provide, inter alia,that where an involuntary patient has mental capacity, their consent is required for the administration of ECT.