Figures reveal extent of staff shortfall in mental health services

Fianna Fáil's James Browne says it could take two decades to fulfil a 10 year plan

Figures reveal extent of staff shortfall in mental health services

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It is claimed that almost 2,000 new staff need to be recruited in mental health services.

New figures have been released to Fianna Fáil mental health spokesperson James Browne.

They reveal that while 1,963 additional posts need to be filled, only 93 additional staff have been hired to date.

The positions were set to be filled on the basis of a €15m allocation for 2017.

Deputy Browne says the posts need to be filled if the Government is to provide the level of care in its 'A Vision for Change' policy.

He says: "When launched in 2006, 'A Vision for Change' marked a radical break from the previous approach to mental health care.

"At its heart is a recovery based model, which promotes a partnership approach and one centred on the person's capacity to lead a fulfilling life.

"However, 11 years on, the number of staff in the system is falling well short of what is recommended."

The Health Service Executive (HSE) estimates that some 12,778 posts are required - however there are only 10,815 currently in the system.

Deputy Brown added: "I am seriously concerned with the slow pace at which the HSE is recruiting.

"Just 93 new posts have been filled so far in 2017. Furthermore, the new positions filled this year were clearly approved in previous years.

"The fact is that at this rate of increase it will take another 11 years for 'A Vision for Change' to be implemented in full.

"The Government and the HSE need to up their game on this. Taking 22 years to fulfill a 10 year plan is not acceptable".