Moving away from the old model of institutionally-based, custodial mental health care and replacing it with a network of strengthened community teams in both Galway and Roscommon is the way forward, a local TD said this week.
Praising the Vision for Change mental health model Labour deputy Derek Nolan said it will lead to a more “progressive, holistic and community-based” approach in Galway.
“The strategy in the Vision for Change is to move away from the old model of institutionally-based, custodial mental health care and to replace it with a network of strengthened community teams in both Galway and Roscommon,” he stated. “Vision for Change will ensure that mental health patients in Galway and Roscommon are provided with care and treatment closer to their home. The model will also foster a philosophy of early detection and prevention, in line with international best practice, so as to significantly reduce admissions in the acute in-patient wards.”
It is vital that this model is given every opportunity to grow and progress as it is a far more effective and efficient use of the resources at the disposal of the HSE West, he said. However, for this to happen certain reconfigurations are necessary.
“The existing unit in Ballinasloe will cease to provide acute in-patient beds from the end of 2013 but will, instead, provide enhanced community based mental health care. This paves the way for the deployment of specialist community mental health services engaging in a philosophy of early detection and prevention.
“Crucially, there will be no impact for current in-patients in Ballinasloe as the bed reduction will take place on a phased basis.”
An additional 15 new specialist beds will be provided in the new acute mental health unit in Galway which is good news, he said. These will include beds for eating disorders, psychiatry of later life and mental health intellectual disability.
“Mental health is one of the most serious issues in Ireland at present having been stigmatised and neglected for years. It is essential that we all contribute to ensuring that this coherent model is operational so that those suffering from mental illness are given the best care available. For that, all stakeholders must accept the need to change our current system.”