Dáil Éireann - Volume 653 - 08 May, 2008

Written Answers. - Mental Health Services.

Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of child adolescents on the psychiatric waiting list. [17612/08]

  Deputy Mary Harney: Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services was assigned to the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004 and funding for all health services has been provided as part of its overall vote. The Executive, therefore, is the appropriate body to consider the particular matter raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Question No. 275 of 17 April 2008 in relation to the number of in-patient psychiatric beds for years 2000 to 2006, the areas of the reduction of 850 beds in that period under the criteria of acute beds and long stay beds; and if there was a reduction on long stay, the locations where the patients were re-located to. [17613/08]

  Deputy Mary Harney: According to the Health Research Board the reduction in the number of in-patient psychiatric beds for the years 2000 to 2006 has been entirely in long-stay beds. There has been no decline in acute beds. Since the establishment of the Health Service Executive in 2004 and the splitting of some catchment areas it is not possible to compare data between the former health board areas and the HSE areas.

The Report of the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy, ‘A Vision for Change’, which was launched in January 2006 and represents Government policy, provides a framework for action to develop a modern, high quality mental health services for a seven to ten year period. The Report recommends that steps be taken to bring about the closure of all psychiatric hospitals and the reinvestment of the resources released by these closures in mental health service. It emphasises that this process should take place on a phased basis with wards closing sequentially and that hospitals can only close when the clinical needs of the remaining patients have been addressed in more appropriate settings such as additional community residences, day hospitals and day centres. Currently, there are approximately 400 community psychiatric residences in the country providing over 3,000 places.

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services was assigned to the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004 and funding for all health services has been provided as part of its overall vote. The Executive, therefore, is the appropriate body to consider the particular matter raised by the Deputy. My Department [1131] has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Questions No. 175 and 176 answered with Question No. 150.