Click on IrishTimes.com, today’s edition, and look for stuff on Health…
You’ll find you have to scroll right down to the bottom, and on the way you may have given up hope of finding material on mental health. Symbolic eh?
A week ago there was an important press conference on Irish mental health.
Its purpose was to highlight the progress that’s been made by government on its 10-year plan to transform our mental health services and culture.
Last Tuesday’s Irish Times had a good piece by Carl O’Brien, social affairs correspondent. It summarised what the government’s monitoring group reported:
(1) The HSE has still not produced "a detailed implementation plan" for ‘A Vision for Change’.
(2) There is no leader clearly identified: the process of change is leaderless.
No plan, no leader… Pretty pathetic eh. Especially because John Moloney, minister responsible for mental health, has publicly re-committed the government to "A Vision for Change".
The independent group strongly criticised the HSE. It listed several areas which haven’t moved forward, meaning that it’s getting harder by the day to achieve what’s been promised.
The monitoring group report also highlighted some progress:
(1) "the provision of child and adolescent services is beginning to improve"
(2) "there is better engagement of patients"
(3) "better data-collection".
I have to say that when an organisation highlights ‘better data-collection’ I feel they are scraping the bottom of the barrel, looking desperately for something positive to say.
This is the 3rd monitoring report.
Each report has highlighted lack of leadership within HSE. The minister, John Moloney who held on to his job in the reshuffle, is said to have
"agreed with the recommendation to establish a National Mental Health Service Directorate and had discussed this with the HSE’s chief executive, Prof Brendan Drumm."
Who are those monitoring progress on mental health services?
Dr Ruth Barrington, chief executive Molecular Medicine Ireland
Dr Susan Finnerty, acting inspector of Mental Health Services
Dr Pat Devitt, inspector of Mental Health Services
Dora Hennessy, principal of mental health division in dept of health
Dr Tony Bates, founder & director of Headstrong
Pat Brosnan, specialist national planning mental health HSE
Tim O’Malley, pharmacist & former Irish minister for disability
Dr Terry Lynch, GP & psychotherapist
Paul Flynn, user of mental health services
Maire Redmond, dept of health, social services & public safety, Northern Ireland
Was the news ‘managed’ to minimise negative publicity?
Healthplus, The Irish Times supplement comes out on Tuesdays. It was printed too early to carry a report on the monitoring group’s findings. A week later, today’s Healthplus contains nothing about this. So we have been spared top class intelligence on the current state of mental health services.
PS: I have yet to read the monitoring group’s report. When I’ve read it, I hope to write more about it because we need as much as possible in the public domain.