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PRESS RELEASE | Minister for Mental Health and Older People welcomes publication of the Mental Health Commission 2023 Annual Report

Press Release: Tuesday 25 June 2024

Minister for Mental Health and Older People welcomes publication of the Mental Health Commission 2023 Annual Report

Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler, today welcomed the publication of the Mental Health Commission’s Annual Report for 2023.

This report of the Mental Health Commission and the Inspector of Mental Health Services provides an important independent insight into how mental health services are performing and where improvements can be made.

Minister Butler said: 

“This report is a comprehensive and welcome contribution to our shared common objective of improving the quality and safety of the provision of our mental health services. While the report raises some issues of concern in relation to individual care planning, risk management, staffing and premises, progress has been made with services adopting a strong human rights approach to successfully reduce and eliminate restrictive practices in 2023.

“It is important to highlight that the Health Service Executive (HSE) and private providers continue to pro-actively remedy any concerns raised by the inspection of their services and continue to work to make our mental health services accessible, modern, and person-centred. I very much welcome the findings that all Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are now 100% compliant with individual care planning, that child admissions to adult units continues to decline and that five centres were able to achieve 100% compliance across all standards, showing that this high level of standard is possible.”

The report findings indicate that along with the five centres that achieved 100% compliance, 26 centres, including many HSE centres attained 90% or better compliance. The frequency and duration of the admission of children to adult approved centres continued to decrease in 2023. There were just 14 admissions to 11 adult units in 2023, the lowest ever recorded. Many service providers also introduced new initiatives and adopted a human rights approach to successfully achieving a 25% reduction in seclusion and a 9% decrease in the use of physical restraint. Very importantly there was 100% compliance with the rules and code of practice on Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT). During 2023 there were no overcapacity notifications reported by Independent Centres, CAMHS, Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO) 6, CHO 8 and CHO 9.

In Budget 2024, €4 million in funding was also secured for minor capital works to ensure appropriate accommodation in services nationwide and meet the needs identified in Mental Health Commission inspection reports which are key in driving continuous improvements in the quality and safety of our services.

Minister Butler added:

“I wish to thank the Mental Health Commission and the Inspector of Mental Health Services for their continued and long-standing commitment to promote, encourage and foster high standards and good practices in the delivery of all our mental health services in Ireland. On top of the €1.3 billion I secured in Budget 2024, in the Revised Estimates process an additional €10 million was secured for mental health services. This funding is being used to improve all aspects of Mental Health care under our national Mental Health policies Sharing the Vision, Connecting for Life and the HSE Annual Service Plans.”

Minister Butler and the Department of Health continue to work closely with both the Commission and the HSE to improve mental health services. Irish mental health services have a number of strengths. These include a highly skilled and dedicated workforce and an engagement with both quality improvement and evidence-based practice. 

Minister Butler looks forward to continuing the strong working relationship with the Mental Health Commission.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

  • Government investment in mental health services now is over €1.3 billion, an increase of over €300 million since 2020 
  • Overall Mental Health capital provision in 2023 was €27.32 million. 
  • CAMHS now receives €146.5 million annually, and a further €110 million is provided to a range of community-based organisations, many of which are dedicated to supporting young people.
  • HSE Mental Health Services (MHS) are progressing the development of a 10-year capital plan for mental health. A specific three-year prioritised plan is being developed by HSE MHS, to align with Mental Health Commission recommendations in the first instance.
  • The Mental Health Bill was selected for priority for publication in summer 2024 legislative session and is now in the final weeks drafting. 
  • At present, the Mental Health Commission’s regulatory remit under the 2001 Act encompasses approved centres providing inpatient treatment to persons with a mental illness. Under the proposed new Mental Health Bill, that remit is expected to significantly expand to include the regulation of community mental health services, including CAMHS. This includes both residential and non-residential mental health services.
  • In advance of the expansion of the Mental Health Commission’s remit as proposed in the new Mental Health Bill, the Commission is progressing with the development of standards for community mental health services. 

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