Sale of psychiatric units didn't pay off
THE sale of old psychiatric hospitals was expected to raise €50m for badly needed new facilities -- but has generated just €37m in total since 2006, writes Eilish O'Regan.
The money was supposed to be ploughed back into mental health facilities but the projections weren't realised because the property market collapsed, a report revealed yesterday.
The findings emerged in the sixth annual progress report of an independent group which examines the implementation of the blueprint to modernise mental health services, a Vision for Change. The group is critical of the scale of progress, saying its implementation has been "slow and inconsistent".
There are 1,500 vacant posts in mental health teams and the effect of the moratorium on recruitment has been disproportionate and indiscriminate, reducing the availability of professional mental health service staff, the report added.
It pointed out that €35m extra was allocated in 2012 to fill posts in mental health teams. But the overall budget for psychiatric services was cut by €41m.