Neville calls ‘Vision for Change’ report a severe indictment of Health Minister and Govt

“The Independent Monitoring Group Report on the blueprint for improving the psychiatric service is a severe indictment of the Minister for Health & Children and the Government. I am calling for an immediate debate in Dáil Éireann for the Government to account for its failure in this area.

“It is not acceptable that little substantial progress was made in 2009 in the implementation of ‘A Vision for Change’. The lack of clarity around the new Assistant Director for Mental Health, the lack of authority around this post and the emerging clinical management, administrative structures within the health services is totally unacceptable. The Monitoring Group expressed frustration and confusion about constantly changing management structures.

“It is difficult for the newly appointed Executive Clinical Directors to carry out their task when there is an absence of detail in their precise role and the relationship with Clinical Directors and the management structure of the HSE. It is another damning indictment that the Monitoring Group found an absence of mental health leadership.

“The revenue allocation envisaged in ‘A Vision for Change’ was not delivered in 2009 as promised. In the absence of new capital and revenue resources, it is difficult to see how the HSE and the Government can achieve their objective to implement ‘A Vision for Change’ in full.

“There is a continuing drop in the expenditure on mental health. In 2009, expenditure was at 5.3% of total health care which reflects a continual decrease in the last number of years. The Government must immediately introduce an overall national strategy to ensure the service user and family involvement is an integral part in the mental health care service development.

“I call on the Minister and the HSE to develop a strategic response to ensure that the recovery ethos permeates all aspects of service delivery to service users.

“It is extremely disappointing and unacceptable that there has been little progress in establishing fully developed and staffed community mental health teams both in adult services and in specialist mental health services. In the absence of developed resources and staff, it is difficult to see how a vision of a community based mental health service can be implemented.

“The Minister and the Government must immediately explain why there was a lack of significant progress during 2009 in the development of appropriate specialist mental healthcare services (rehabilitation and recovery for older people, people with an intellectual disability, forensic, homeless, co-morbid severe mental health and substance abuse problems, eating disorders, liaison, neuropsychiatry, borderline personality disorder). Apart from child and adolescent mental health services these services have not received the priority and urgent attention that they require. Ireland deserves a modern 21st Century community-based person-centred mental healthcare service grounded in the principle of recovery. The Government and the HSE must immediately renew their commitment to the full implementation of a Vision for Change to ensure this.”