Press Release

Minister O´Malley officially opens Tallaght Mental Health Centre and Launches the South Western Area Health Board and the Irish College of General Practitioners Joint Report Mental Health in Primary Care

Mr. Tim O´Malley T.D., Minister for State at the Department of Health and Children today (Tuesday 17th February 2004) officially opens Tallaght Mental Health Centre and launches the South Western Area Health Board and the Irish College of General Practitioners Joint Report “Mental Health in Primary Care”.

The Minister paid tribute to the South Western Area Health Board on the provision of this new facility in Tallaght.

“I would like to compliment the South Western Area Health Board and the team of professionals working from the unit, on the official opening of this newly constructed, high quality unit at Sheaf House which acts as a hub for the mental health services in the area and incorporates the Sector Headquarters, Day Hospital, Day Centre and a new Day Hospital for Psychiatry of Old Age” said the Minister.

Minister O´Malley referred to the substantial changes that have been unfolding in the mental health services in Ireland in recent years. “The perception of an institutional style mental health service, standing in isolation and closed from the rest of the community, is thankfully becoming a thing of the past” said the Minister. The shift in the delivery of services from predominantly hospital-based care has been successful and undoubtedly the quality of care for persons with a mental illness has been enhanced by this development.

The Minister also took the opportunity to launch the Joint Report of the South Western Area Health Board and the Irish College of General Practitioners ‘Mental Health in Primary Care’. This study, the first of its kind undertaken in Ireland to determine the needs of those who receive their mental health care directly from their GPs and to ascertain how these needs might best be met in the future.

“While the focus of the mental health service has turned towards a needs-led service, identifying the needs of a population and developing appropriate services in response to those needs, has proved challenging . This Report into the current state of mental health service delivery in primary care settings in the South Western Area Health Board is therefore of particular relevance at this time. The high response rates to the study by GPs and consultant psychiatrists indicate a strong level of interest in the area of mental health in primary care” said the Minister.

The Minister praised the Board and the Irish College of General Practitioners on the “Mental Health in Primary Care” Report.

“I believe that the development of primary care services as recommended in the Report will contribute significantly to enhanced levels of care and treatment for those suffering mental difficulties” said the Minister.