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The Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care has today launched its second interim report on recommended actions arising from progress made to date.
“This report represents the preliminary findings of the Committee in the three key areas identified by it, namely, primary care, recruitment and funding,” said Committee Chairperson, Senator Joan Freeman.
“Each of these pieces depends on each other and the Committee has realised in the course of its deliberations that primary care, which is vital to the efficient delivery of services, is hampered by problems with recruitment, which is in turn affected by funding problems.
“While we welcome the fact that the HSE came before the Committee on numerous occasions to answer our questions and provided us with high level information on funding, we remain dissatisfied with the level of specifics we received from them on the subject.”
Senator Freeman said the evidence given at the Committee and the discussions it had showed that recruitment and retention of doctors and other medical staff is a significant problem in the mental health sphere.
“Throughout our deliberations, we heard time and time again that recruitment and retention of staff are huge issues in the Irish health service, because the HSE use the excuse that there are better working conditions available for health professionals abroad,” she said.
“However, further investigation revealed a poor process of recruitment that would impede recruiting professionals because of the ineffectiveness and inefficacy of the recruitment procedure.”
The report also makes criticisms of aspects of the current GP contract.
Dr Donal O’Hanlon, IHCA Vice President and Consultant Psychiatrist, said: “The IHCA strongly supports the report in that it has set out clear action points to address the factors that are adversely impacting on the delivery of timely services.”
He said that the report highlights clear goals which are important for the development of the Mental Health Service in accordance with ‘’A Vision for Change’’ – the “mental health policy which was published over a decade ago but has not been resourced sufficiently.’’