Press Release

Minister Lenihan addresses the 32nd Annual Delegate Conference of the Psychiatric Nurses´ Association

Mr Brian Lenihan, TD, Minister for Children, today addressed the 32nd annual delegate conference of the Psychiatric Nurses´ Association.

Speaking at the conference, the Minister outlined the very substantial commitment of the Government to the development of nursing services in Ireland, including:-

  • the introduction of a 4-year degree for entry into nursing
  • a capital programme costing more than €230m to facilitate the transfer of nursing education to the third-level sector
  • a 70% increase in the number of nurse training places since 1998
  • the success of various recruitment and retention initiatives that have enabled the health service to recruit an additional 6,800 nurses since 1998, an increase of 26%

Commenting on the development of psychiatric services, the Minister said that “in the period 1999-2002, an additional€70.7m in revenue funding was invested in the mental health services. In the current year, additional revenue funding of€7.6m will be provided for on-going developments.”

“Overall, about €190m in capital funding is being provided through the National Development Plan to facilitate development of acute psychiatric services” said the Minister.

In relation to mental health policy, the Minister said that theHealth Strategy recognised a need to update mental health policy to take account of recent legislative reform, developments in the care and treatment of mental illness, and current best practice. The Minister went on to state “the Strategy gives a commitment that a national policy framework for the further modernisation of the mental health services will be prepared. Work on this is expected to begin later this year.”

The Minister paid tribute to the role of partnership in the health service. “Health service partnership has now reached a stage where confidence is growing, and the belief exists that bigger challenges can be addressed”, he said.