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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 37 - Mental health services [Standards] [20946/16].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 37 - Mental health services [Standards] [20946/16]. (12 Jul 2016)

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37. Deputy Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Health his plans to introduce a regulatory framework to allow for the registering of all residential mental health and drug and alcohol units to ensure that standards are being observed and proper evidence based care is being provided, especially where Health Service Executive funding is being allocated. [20946/16]


Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Helen McEntee): The Mental Health Act 2001 currently provides that the Inspector of Mental Health Services visit, inspect and report on every approved centre at least once in each year. In addition, the Inspector may also inspect any other service, where mental health services are being delivered under the direction of a consultant psychiatrist.


The Expert Group Review of the Mental Health Act 2001 was published last year. The Group recommended that the Mental Health Commission should develop a risk based approach to inspection to ensure maximum effectiveness and efficiency in the use of scarce resources. As part of this new approach, the Group recommended that community mental health services be registered and inspected at reasonable intervals using this risk based system starting with all community mental health teams. In addition, it is also recommended that the Mental Health Commission be provided with specific powers to make standards in respect of all mental health services and to inspect against those standards. Work on the General Scheme of a Bill to amend the Mental Health Act 2001 and to include the recommendations I have mentioned, is underway in my Department.


The Department of Health is also currently in the process of developing a new National Drugs Strategy that will take effect in 2017, when the current policy expires. A Steering Committee has been established to oversee the process. One of the issues raised in this context is the need to ensure that there are quality standards and evidence-based care across all treatment services, including residential units. These issues are being further explored within multi-stakeholder Focus Groups centred on Continuum of Care and Evidence & Best Practise that will soon be reporting their recommendations to the Steering Committee for consideration. My colleague, Minister Catherine Byrne is expecting the final report of the Steering Committee by the end of the year.

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