The national plan to establish intensive care rehabilitation units (ICRUs) within the national forensic mental health service is experiencing a “major delay”, according to a recent implementation report on the mental health strategy.
The Sharing the Vision strategy recommended that the development of ICRUs should be prioritised following successful evaluation of the new ICRU on the Central Mental Health campus in Portrane, Co Dublin.
However, due to recruitment difficulties, the ICRU in Portrane has yet to be established.
According to the strategy’s implementation report for the first quarter of 2023: “It is not possible to commence a comprehensive evaluation of the ICRU in Portrane as this facility will not come on stream until 2024 and this is subject to staff availability. On this basis it is not possible to develop further a national plan for ICRUs.”
The report, which was prepared for the strategy’s national implementation monitoring committee (NIMC), stated that “significant debate and planning” had taken place to implement the recommendation.
Due to the delay, a proposal was submitted to the HSE mental health division for the completion of a desktop literature review considering the experience of similar facilities in other jurisdictions.
“However, following further consideration, the findings of such a review process would not provide the recommendations that could be used as the comparison of other settings differs from the setting here in Ireland,” outlined the implementation report.
A meeting between the HSE, Department of Health and the workstream lead was scheduled to determine if the recommendation in the strategy could be amended to meet current and future needs.
The report added that the recommendation had “become moot due to the time delays experienced in opening the Portrane ICRU”.
A spokesperson for the HSE confirmed the meeting took place on 9 May. It was agreed the HSE’s implementation group for the mental health strategy will now formally engage with the NIMC on the status of the recommendation and timelines for completion.