Press Release

O’Malley – €230m Capital Infrastructure will benefit schools of nursing

Mr Tim O’Malley TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children with special responsibility for mental health, today (15th October 2004) addressed the Community Mental Health Nurses AGM and Education Day in the Radisson SAS Hotel, Athlone.  Minister O’Malley spoke about the important work being done by community mental health nurses and also of the capital infrastructure being put in place in the thirteen higher education institutes which will provide students with state-of-the-art facilities.

The new, purpose-built capital infrastructure will cost in excess of €230m and includes the cost of building, fitting out and equipping the new schools of nursing.  This reflects the Government’s commitment to the development of nursing and the wider health service.

Minister O’Malley, on the work of the community mental health nurses, said “The effective use of nursing skills in everyday practice is invaluable to patients and their families.  Community mental heath nurses are one of the most frequent channels of communication between those with a mental illness and service providers.  The Education Day today provides an excellent opportunity to present different perspectives on developments in mental health services and it enables me to acknowledge the importance and value of community mental health nurses’ work in the delivery of mental health services”.

The World Health Organisation estimates that one in four people will be affected by a mental disorder at some stage of his or her life.  This is why preventing mental disorders and promoting mental health is of immense interest.  Mental disorders can cause enormous emotional suffering, diminished quality of life and also alienation and stigma.

Substantial changes have been unfolding in the mental health services in Ireland.  Enormous strides have been made and continue to be made in developing a comprehensive, community-based service which is integrated with other health services.  The shift in the delivery of services from predominantly hospital-based care has been extremely successful and undoubtedly the quality of care for persons with a mental illness has been enhanced by this development.

“Community mental health nurses, are well placed to influence the future development of mental health services and to contribute to a more people-centred approach to service delivery.  The pivotal role they have between patients and service providers gives them an opportunity to be a force for change in the way services are delivered” Minister O’Malley stated.