Ireland’s readmission rate for people in severe mental health distress too high
Mental Health Reform, the National Coalition for Mental Health, has expressed serious concerns at the high hospital readmission rate for people with mental health difficulties in Ireland and the continued lack of a 24/7 community-based service for people in severe distress.
Mental Health Reform was responding to a news piece on RTE’s Morning Ireland this morning which found that two thirds of people presenting for hospital treatment for serious mental health difficulties in 2015 were re admitted within the year.
According to data released by the HSE to Morning Ireland there were almost 13,100 admissions in 2015 and the readmission rate within 12 months was 66 per cent.
A 2011 OECD study found that Ireland’s 30-day re-admission rate for schizophrenia was more than double our nearest neighbour, the UK.
Commenting on the figures the Director of Mental Health Reform Dr Shari McDaid said: “this readmission rate is too high and could be reduced if we had more fully developed community based services as first recommended in A Vision for Change ten years ago. The OECD has identified that if appropriate and coordinated follow-up is provided after discharges, patients are not usually re-admitted to hospital within 30 days. In the UK, the NHS has set a clinical standard that support services, both in the hospital and in primary, community and mental health settings must be available seven days a week.”
Morning Ireland also reported that none of the HSE community mental health services provide 24-hour cover and just under one-third of vacancies remain unfilled for clinical nurse specialists responsible for patients presenting to emergency departments with suicidal ideation or self-harm.
According to Ireland’s 2006 mental health policy A Vision for Change Recommendation 11.11: “Arrangements should be evolved and agreed within each CMHT [Community Mental Health Team] for the provision of 24/7 multidisciplinary crisis intervention. Each catchment area should have the facility of a crisis house to offer temporary low support accommodation if appropriate.”
Dr McDaid continued, “Ten years on it is simply not good enough that no CMHT provides 24-hour cover forcing people in severe mental health distress to attend hospital emergency departments (EDs). Mental health emergencies do not only occur from 9- 5, and a busy ED is often inappropriate for people in mental health crisis”.
Mental Health Reform has long been campaigning for 24/7 access to mental health services across the country.
Meanwhile Mental Health Reform welcomed a news piece in today’s Irish Times which reported that the Minister for Health Simon Harris was acutely aware of the pressures within the mental health services and the need for additional resources.
According to Dr McDaid “Mental Health Reform calls on Minster Harris to restore the €12million in diverted funds to mental health as a matter of priority”.
About Mental Health Reform
Mental Health Reform is the national coalition promoting improved mental health services and the social inclusion of people with mental health difficulties. The coalition currently has 54 members. See www.mentalhealthreform.ie for more details. Mental Health Reform acknowledges the support of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government’s Scheme to Support National Organisations 2014-2016.
For more information please contact:
Communications and Campaigns Officer,
Mental Health Reform,
Tel: (086) 171 1920 / 01 874 9469.