Fianna Fáil Mental Health Spokesperson James Browne TD has said that peoples right to the highest attainable standard of mental health and their right to access to good quality care, must be protected.

In new figures provided to Fianna Fáil it is apparent that just over half the required staff numbers for Child and Adolescent Community Mental Health Teams are in place.

He commented, “In Ireland one in four of the population are under 18 years of age. Yet at the end of 2016, the HSE says that there was a total of 648 staff in the Child and Adolescent Community Mental Health Teams nationwide. This represents just over 54% of the staffing levels recommended in the Vision for Change policy blueprint.

“Quite shockingly, 3 community health organisation areas don’t even break the 50% mark, eleven years on from the launch of A Vision for Change.

“This is wholly inadequate for our national mental health service and must be addressed with urgency. The insufficiency of current provision could potentially have grave consequences.

“In the interest of the parents and children who rely on these services, the HSE and the Minister for Health need to take whatever steps are necessary to fulfil these recommendations without delay.

“The commitments made in A Vision for Change, must be honoured and to have only reached a 55% rate in the eleventh year of a ten year plan, is simply good enough,” concluded Deputy Browne.