Almost 2,000 new staff need to be recruited in mental health services if the Government is to provide the level of care envisaged in the national A Vision for Change policy.

New figures released to Fianna Fáil Mental Health Spokesperson James Browne reveal that while 1,963 additional posts need to be filled to comply with the 2006 strategy, only 93 additional staff have been hired in 2017 to date.

“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”, explained Deputy Browne.

“However, eleven years on, the number of staff in the system is falling well short of what is recommended. The HSE estimates that some 12,778 posts are required, however, there are only 10,815 currently in the system – leaving a shortfall of 1,963.

“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. Not one position has been filled on the basis of the €15 million allocation for 2017.

“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 twenty-two years to fulfil a ten year plan is not acceptable”.