Developing Mental Health Services in HSE West in line with A Vision for Change
Minister Lynch met with a delegation consisting of local public, care professionals, and union representatives on 18 September last concerning the reconfiguration of mental health services in the Galway Roscommon region. The Minister notes that this re-configuration is being implemented by HSE West, in line with A Vision for Change, similar to other mental health service re-configurations already undertaken elsewhere in the country. Arising from the decision by the Expert Group established to make recommendations on this matter, a decision in principle was recently made by the HSE. This has been accepted by the Minister as the best option to enhance mental health services overall across the Galway/Roscommon area, taking account of overall service needs and resource priorities. The position was explained by the Minister at the recent meeting, and HSE West will now carry out a consultation process as part of drawing up an implementation plan as quickly as possible.
The Minister wishes to point out that, contrary to recent media reports, an independent review was not agreed at the recent meeting. She accepts the recommendations of the Expert Group, and the approach being adopted to bring these to fruition. Nor did the Minister agree that community based services should be put in place before the beds in St. Brigid’s close. Rather, the Minister pointed out that community services could only be enhanced on a transitional basis, as the staff from St. Brigid’s are re-configured from the existing services to the new community based services. The extra allocation in 2012 and 2013 for mental health nationally will be of benefit to HSE West in this regard.
HSE West has established an Implementation Group to engage in appropriate and intensive consultation to progress this initiative and address any outstanding local concerns. The Minister concluded by saying “I fully support the decision in principle taken by the HSE, and the basis on which it was reached, to modernise services in Galway/Roscommon as has successfully been delivered elsewhere. The priority now is to reach agreement locally on implementing this decision and that this be done without delay. In particular, I would be concerned that any mis-representation of the position would impact negatively on bringing about the much needed changes between acute and community based services in the region. There already exists, in the Galway/Roscommon area, sufficient overall resources to modernise mental health services across the area but this needs to be re-balanced to realise this objective. I would therefore ask all concerned to work together to achieve this necessary up-grading of services for the benefit of all service users in this region.”