Members of mental health policy group named


An expert group has been established prepare a new policy document for the mental health services.

The announcement was made today by the Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, Mr Tim O'Malley.

He said the "the ongoing implementation of the vision set out in [in the existing plan from 1984} Planning for the Futurehas resulted in a sustained decline over the past two decades in the number of in-patients in our psychiatric hospitals, with a corresponding increase in a range of care facilities based in the community".

But he said a new policy framework is required due to recent legislative changes. The group will be chaired by Mr Joyce O'Connor, president of the National College of Ireland.

He will be joined by Dr Dermot Walsh, Inspector of Mental Hospitals; Dr John Owens, Chairman, Mental Health Commission; Ms Bairbre Nic Aongusa, Principal, Mental Health Division; Dr Justin Brophy, Consultant Psychiatrist, Wicklow Mental Health Service; Dr Colette Halpin, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, MHB and Dr Mary Kelly, Consultant Psychiatrist (Intellectual Disability), Brothers of Charity, Limerick.

Also included on the panel are Mr John Saunders, Director, Schizophrenia Ireland; Mr Paddy McGowan, Director, Irish Advocacy Network; Mr Michael Hughes, Assistant to the Inspector of Mental Hospitals and Director of Nursing, Wicklow Mental Health Service; Dr Terry Lynch, GP and Psychotherapist, Limerick; Mr Edward Boyne, Psychotherapist, Dublin and Galway; Ms Mary Groeger, Occupational Therapy Manager, North Cork and Mr Noel Brett, Programme Manager for Mental Health and Older People, WHB.

Completing the group are Ms Cathy Eastwood, Social Worker, University College Hospital, Galway; Mr Brendan Byrne, Director of Nursing (Acting), Carlow Mental Health Service; Mr Cormac Walsh, Mental Health Nursing Advisor, Department of Health and Children and Dr Tony Bates, Principal Psychologist, St James's Hospital, Dublin.