HSE Welcome Publication of Mental Health Commission Annual Report

29th May 2008

The Health Service Executive (HSE) today welcomes the publication of the Mental Health Commission Annual Report.

The HSE works each year to ensure that the recommendations of the Mental Health Commission are implemented to ensure continuous service improvement.

It should be noted that the inpatient population in mental health facilities has continued to reduce year on year since 1970 and there has been a reduction from 10,631 to 3,314, or 66%, in inpatient population between 1987 and 2007.


Vision for Change

The HSE is fully committed to implementing Vision for Change and has put in place a very targeted action plan.


Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

One of the key priorities for 2008 will be to provide eight additional Consultant Child Psychiatry teams together with increasing the inpatient bed capacity from the current number of 12 to 30 by the end of 2008.  Construction will also begin on two purpose-built 20 bed childrens’ inpatient units in Galway and Cork.  Significant progress has been made and four additional beds have already been commissioned in Galway with the balance in Dublin and Cork to be commissioned by the fourth quarter of 2008.  This will result in an increase of 150% in the Child and Adolescent inpatient bed capacity. 

The HSE has recently advertised an additional 12 Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists and the teams to support the consultants are also being advanced.


Modernisation of Mental Health Infrastructure

Work is advanced nationally on the process of replacing the remaining psychiatric hospitals with a range of modern mental health services. Closure plans for existing psychiatric hospitals will be put in place by the end of 2008.

Many Psychiatric Hospitals have already been closed with patients transferring to alternative community services over the last number of years.  The HSE is continuing to progress the closure of hospitals in accordance with the recommendations in ‘A Vision for Change’.  Recent closures include St. Mary’s Psychiatric Hospital Castlebar and the old building at St. Brigids Hospital, Ballinasloe.

Already, money from these sales has been reinvested in new and upgraded psychiatric facilities around the country and this process will continue on an on going basis.

Capital funding of €145m has been provided and expended on the upgrading of mental health facilities under the National Development Plan 2000 to 2007.  Additional funding under the National Development Plan of €20m per annum will be provided in the period 2008-2011. The HSE will also be reinvesting funding that will be realised from the disposal of assets.  In addition €60m worth of infrastructure has been provided through leases in the same period.

A comprehensive programme for the valuation and sale of mental health facilities is currently in progress, with a view to selling a number of properties in the next two years. All revenue raised from these sales will be directed towards improving mental health services.


Community Based Mental Health Teams

The HSE will expand multidisciplinary community based mental health teams and complete existing teams. In addition, it is intended to support new and existing teams to develop the multidisciplinary nature of their services and provide a more comprehensive range of medical, psychological and social therapies to service users and families. 

Significant progress has been made in establishing multi disciplinary teams in some areas and these teams will be advanced further as we close existing psychiatric hospitals and transfer resources to the community. 

Additional psychology training and a new post grad psychiatric nursing course will also address capacity issues to ensure appropriate availability of key multi disciplinary team members

Commenting today on issues raised including staffing issues, Mr Seamus McNulty, HSE Assistant National Director stressed that “we have over 10,000 people working in our mental health services. As in any other area, there is always significant staff mobility and at any given time there will inevitably be vacancies caused by staff promotion, leave, maternity leave, retirement. On that basis we are continuing to recruit staff into the system.  Over the past few weeks we have advertised for significant numbers of consultant psychiatrists to expand our mental health teams and over the coming weekend we will be advertising for mental health nurses.”


Mental Health Services for People with an Intellectual Disability

Each area will be required in 2008 to agree the reconfiguration necessary to meet the recommendations in relation to the provision of services for people with Intellectual Disability.  As the majority of services for people with intellectual disability is provided by voluntary partners these arrangements will be agreed and developed jointly with the voluntary partners. 

Considerable work in planning the reconfiguration of mental health services for people with an intellectual disability was undertaken in 2007 following the Report of the Forum on Mental health and Intellectual Disability. This report also had regard to the recommendations contained in Vision for Change.

Dialogue has begun with voluntary service providers on how services might be configured in compliance with requirements of MHA (Mental Health Act) 2001



For further information contact:
Ann McLoone
HSE Press Office
01 635 2840
087 295 7225

Last updated on: 29 / 05 / 2008