Some 2,000 new staff are needed in mental health services if the Government is to provide the level of care envisaged in the national A Vision for Change policy according to Senator Robbie Gallagher.
Senator Gallagher was speaking after new figures released to his colleague Fianna Fáil Mental Health Spokesperson James Browne revealed that while 1,963 additional posts need to be filled to comply with the 2006 strategy, only 93 additional staff have been hired in 2017 to date.
“When launched in 2006, eleven years ago, A Vision for Change marked a new approach to mental health care with a recovery based model, promoting a partnership approach centred on the person’s capacity to lead a fulfilling life”, explained Senator Gallagher.
“However, the number of staff in the system is falling well short of what is recommended and needed. The HSE estimates that some 12,778 posts are required, but there are only 10,815 in the system – leaving a shortfall of 1,963.
“Just 93 new posts have been filled so far this year and the new positions filled this year were clearly approved in previous years. Not one position has been filled on the basis of the €15 million allocation for 2017 so I am seriously concerned with the slow pace at which the HSE is recruiting,” he said.
“At this rate of increase it will take another 11 years for A Vision for Change to be implemented in full. Taking twenty-two years to fulfil a ten year plan is not impressive. The Government and the HSE need to get their act together and stop playing lip service to the issue of mental health.”.