With 130 Psychiatric Nurses in Kerry on strike today, Deputy Michael Healy Rae last night raised the issue of the shortage of Mental Health Nurses throughout the country with the Minister for State Helen McEntee.
Deputy Healy Rae asked Ms. McEntee why the aspirations of A Vision for Change that was brought forward 10 years ago has not been achieved with almost 600 posts vacant in this area at present.
In reply, Minister for State McEntee stated:
“In 2006 the Government adopted a policy known as Vision for Change as the basis for the future development of mental health services in Ireland.
It advocated several changes in the service and a more holistic view on mental illness, a move away from traditional institutional based care to a patient centred, flexible and community based health service.
During the implementation of Vision, there has been a move away from traditional psychiatric institutions, which have mostly been closed. A range of community mental health teams have been developed for adults and children and adolescents.
Additional funding provided between 2012 and 2016 has also enabled development of specialised areas of the mental health services, including the area of Forensic Mental Health with work commencing on a new hospital in Portrane this year.
”A Vision for Change has guided national mental health policy for the past 10 years and its term comes to an end this year.
The Department is currently finalising a request for tender for a review and analysis of international evidence and best practice in the development of mental health services, including a review of current delivery of services in Ireland.
This review will provide evidence to determine the policy direction for a revision of ‘A Vision for Change’. The review will also have regard to both human rights and health and well-being objectives.”
Deputy Healy Rae says that while he appreciates the work has to be done in this sector – he feels that more needs to be done and urgently to ensure that these posts are filled.