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HSE to extend 7-day services in 9 locations annually

The HSE has signalled its intention to extend mental health services to weekend cover in nine locations nationally to increase the availability of crisis support to known mental health service users. 
 
The commitment contained in the HSE Mental Health Division Operational Plan for 2017 is the first response by the HSE to the #InOurHourOfNeed campaign run by Mental Health Reform, A Lust for Life, Uplift and Future Voices.
 
In order to proceed with this action, the HSE will map existing services; develop an implementation plan; and design a model for improved service response nationally.
 Other highlights of the HSE’s plans for 2017 include:

  • Employment of Peer Support Workers in Community Mental Health Teams
  • Completing the design of the clinical programme on dual diagnosis (substance misuse)
  • Developing enhanced suicide bereavement support services
  • Development of a model of care for mental health of intellectual disability services and the development of MHID CMHTs for adults in 6 CHOs and at least 4 CHOs for children
  • Development of perinatal mental health service capacity (funded from 2016 programme for Government). This will include the appointment of clinical nurse specialist resources to relevant maternity hospitals and the development of perinatal services in Cork University and Limerick Hospitals
  • A review of compliance with "Your Service, Your Say" in mental health to improve mental health service responses to those with eating disorders
Of concern, however is that the HSE's plans for 2017 are at risk due to:

The challenge of maintaining existing level of service (ELS) costs within the base budget
  • Demographic change 
  • Rising private placements
  • Persistent difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff
Mental Health Reform is concerned that the HSE intends to utilise development funding from prior years to cover the costs of maintaining existing levels of service. The HSE states that they will use prior year development funding to cover costs such as “the premia cost in medical agency and the cost of external placements”.
 
Further details of the HSE's 2017 Operational Plan are available in this snapshot analysis 
 
                                   
 
Mental Health Act (Amendment) (No.2) Bill published

Fianna Fáil have tabled a Private Members Bill to amend the Mental Health Act, 2001 which is due to go to second stage in the Oireachtas. 
 
The Bill is an encouraging step towards achieving full revision of the Act in line with the recommendations of the Expert Group and our own recommendations.
 
The Bill contains a small number of significant amendments that strengthen the rights of people who use inpatient facilities. These changes are detailed in the Explanatory Memorandum to the Act and focus on:
  • Clarifying that the definition of a voluntary patient includes only individuals with decision-making capacity as defined under the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act (2015) and who have consented to admission;
  • Aligning the principles of the 2001 Act with the guiding principles of the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act (2015) and to include additional principles such as the right to the highest attainable standard of mental health and the right to least restrictive care;
  • Retaining the principal consideration of ‘best interests’ for children and young people under the age of 18 years and to include the right of the child to be heard in decisions made under the 2001 Act; and
  • Affirming that consent to treatment is required by both voluntary and involuntary patients who have decision-making capacity to consent (as defined in the Capacity Act).

Further details about the proposed changes are contained in the Explanatory Memorandum in the Bill [See here]
 
Mental Health Reform supports the changes in the Mental Health Act (Amendment) (No.2) Bill and are campaigning for full revision of the Act in line with the recommendations of the Expert Group. If you want to get involved in the campaign, please contact Kate Mitchell, Policy & Research Officer at kmitchell@mentalhealthreform.ie
 

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