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Mental health strategy implementation deadlines extended by over 12 months

By Paul Mulholland - 20th Nov 2023


The timeline for implementation of “short-term” recommendations in the mental health strategy has been extended by over a year, the Medical Independent has learned.

Sharing the Vision, which covers 2020 to 2030, comprises 100 recommendations.

Overall, 55 recommendations were “on-track”, according to an implementation report produced by the steering committee of the national implementation and monitoring committee (NIMC). The report related to quarter two of this year.

Under an initial timeline, 42 short-term recommendations were due to be implemented by September 2023. Of these, 26 were described as “on-track”.

One of the short-term recommendations with a “major delay issue” related to mental health services for individuals who are deaf. The other related to access to safeguarding teams and training for mental health staff.

A Department of Health spokesperson said the timeline for short-term recommendations had been extended to December 2024 following consultation with the NIMC steering committee. The spokesperson noted the impact of the pandemic and other factors.

The steering committee’s latest report revealed the NIMC’s concern about adhering to original timelines.

The NIMC’s alternative timeline proposed the short-term recommendations would be delivered in line with the current implementation plan, which expires at the end of 2024.

The 53 medium-term recommendations would align with the second implementation plan (2022-2027) and the entire strategy would be delivered by 2030.

The report included feedback from the NIMC reference group (RG). The RG, which includes service users and family members, criticised the proposed extensions. The Department said the timeline for delivery of medium- and long-term recommendations will be given ongoing consideration. See news feature.

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