Minister McEntee noted that just six approved centres received full compliance with all regulatory requirements in 2015 but, given the nature of the requirements where centres were non-compliant, the Minister felt that the potential for full compliance was strong. She urged the maximum effort on the part of all non-compliant centres to meet the necessary requirements in 2016, guided by the Commission’s findings in its Report. In this regard, the Minister welcomed the Mental Health Commission’s introduction in 2015 of its Judgement Support Framework to guide and assist approved centres to comply with the Commission’s Regulations, Rules and Codes of Practice and to promote improved quality of services through a transparent inspection process.
The Minister noted the increase in the number of involuntary admissions in 2015 but also pointed out that such admissions are regulated and closely monitored by the Commission under the Mental Health Act 2001. In regard to Child and Adolescent admissions to Adult facilities, while there has been a slight increase since 2014, overall there has been a substantial decrease in such admissions in recent years, down from 247 admissions in 2008 to 95 admissions in 2015. However, the Minister agrees that this issue must remain an absolute priority for the HSE to achieve appropriate admissions to Child & Adolescent Units as much as possible, with admission to an Adult Unit taking place only where it is absolutely necessary, and for the shortest possible period until more a more suitable centre is available. The Minister’s aim is to ensure that no child is admitted into an inappropriate unit.
The Minister continued “In line with the Programme for Government, my priority as Minister of State is to continue the modernisation of our mental health services and to continue to provide funding for the development of community-based services. This modernisation will be supported by a revised policy direction which will commence shortly with the commissioning by the Department of Health of a review of international evidence and best practice in the development and delivery of mental health services, including a review of the current delivery of services in this country. This process will inform the future direction of mental health policy, and continue the substantial advances already made under A Vision for Change. “
Minister McEntee acknowledged the commitment of the staff working in the mental health service and commended the Mental Health Commission for its continued commitment to the development and improvement of the services.