Wednesday 19th February : The Psychiatric Nurses’ Association (PNA) said today’s  Mental Health Commission (MHC) Report on  access to acute public mental health beds for adults paints a stark and worrying picture of the impact that the lack of investment, and the failure of successive governments to implement the Vision for Change strategy, is having on our mental health services.

Peter Hughes , General Secretary of the PNA, said the MHC Report confirms many of the findings of the PNA’s own research on the lack of implementation of the Vision for Change strategy, 14 years after it was introduced as the pathway to new beginning for our mental health services.

Among PNA research findings are:

  • 120% bed occupancy in mental health
  • huge reduction in mental health bed numbers without replacement with promised community facilities. (76% of beds taken out of the system with only of 30% of promised community services developed.
  • over 16% of services users in admission units for over six months
  • admission beds inaccessible due to non-development of intensive care rehabilitation units and rehab outreach teams.

“All of these pressures on mental health services are a direct result of the repeated lack of investment in the full implementation of the Vision for Change strategy”.

Peter Hughes said mental health needs to be prioritised in any agreed Programme for Government for the incoming government.

“Politicians and party election manifestos across the board acknowledged mental health services as one of the priorities for increased investment within our health services. Today’s MHC Report shows beyond doubt that it is time for these commitments on mental health to be honoured and acted on, and we must see mental health services being addressed seriously in any agreed Programme for Government.”

“The time for lip service and idle promises on addressing the issues across our mental health services is over. We must see real evidence of a renewed determination to address the underinvestment and glaring gaps in service provision throughout the country which are putting enormous pressures on staff, service users, families and indeed the wider community”.

Media Contact: Derek Cunningham 086-2430535

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