HSE Announces Mental Health Change Plan

THE HSE has annnounced what it calls the next phase in its ‘Vision for Change’ plan for Mental Health Services in the South East, including South Tipperary.

THE HSE has annnounced what it calls the next phase in its ‘Vision for Change’ plan for Mental Health Services in the South East, including South Tipperary.

On Monday, at a media briefing, the HSE told reporters that “the change programme outlined details how services in these areas will move towards providing a modern, quality and responsive mental health service locally.”

The programme heralds what the HSE calls the “enhancement and development” of community mental health services, the closure of old long stay institutions, the separation of North and South Tipperary acute inpatient mental health services and development of appropriate acute inpatient services, for the extended catchment area, in line with the national strategy for mental health “A Vision for Change”.

The key element of the HSE South’s Programme is to develop community mental health services in Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary, to enable the service user to remain in the community to the greatest extent possible, the meeting was told.

HSE South says it has “prioritised the implementation of the change programme and has allocated more than E20m capital funding and over E1.75m revenue funding to support the changeover plan.”

Speaking at the briefings Mr. Pat Healy, Regional Director of Operations, HSE South said, “When this plan is delivered, clients will have access to the highest standards of services in all three counties, which should significantly improve these clients’ treatment programmes and quality of life. The National Service Users Executive are supporting the change programme, which is of immense importance to HSE South.

“The programme also acts on recommendations of the Mental Health Commission.”

Mr. Damien Godkin, Senior Operations Officer, National Service Users Executive commented; “Implementation of the HSE South’s Programme for Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary Mental Health Services will see the vast majority of patients and clients being treated in their homes and the community, through building on existing community mental health teams, home based treatment teams, outpatient clinics, hostels and day services. This is something that service users and their families welcome.”

“This approach to delivering services is fully in line with “A Vision for Change” and is considered best practice, both nationally and internationally. These initiatives will work to provide appropriate and safe alternatives to inpatient care and reduce the reliance on admission of patients to acute mental health facilities. I’m happy to support the HSE South’s programme, including plans to manage acute admissions on one site at the modern, purpose built unit in Kilkenny – which will be a big improvement on what we have had up to now.”

Executive Clinical Director for Mental Health Services in the Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary area, Dr. Frank Kelly outlined some of the major changes:

“We will be enhancing community based mental health services to ensure that people using mental health services have easy access to appropriate care in the most appropriate setting. This will involve a system wide approach by mental health professionals, service users and their families, primary care teams, GPs and voluntary and community groups.”