Over EUR 48 mln earmarked for child psychiatry: PM

During Wednesday’s conference, PM Mateusz Morawiecki announced a PLN 220 mln-worth (EUR 48 mln) child psychiatry investment scheme.

The PM stressed that care for the health of children, also psychiatric health, “should be removed from the midst of political debate” and appealed for joint action regarding improving the health of the country’s youngest citizens.

The scheme is built on a number of pillars. The financing of specialised clinics is to be increased. A repricing of psychiatric services is to be carried out and referral limits are to be abolished for child patients.

According to the PM’s Office (KPRM) infographic, PLN 120 mln (EUR 26.45 mln) is to be earmarked for modernisation and equipment for currently active clinics.

Presenting the investment scheme, PM Morawiecki said that additional funds would be allocated to the support of child and youth psychiatry. These will comprise a free and 24/7 infoline, a social campaign on the protection of mental health and a mobile app. As much as PLN 20 (EUR 4.41 mln) will be spent to these ends.

Regarding counteracting cyber addictions, this activity would be financed from the COVID-19 fund.

The PM stressed that the pandemic, the closure of the economy and schools, contributed to a large degree to the deepening of children and youths’ issues. He also recalled that the government has been systematically increasing outlays on psychiatric care for children and adolescents.

"In August 2019, we introduced a new model of mental health protection for children and adolescents. Last year, expenditure on psychiatric care for children and adolescents increased from about PLN 250 million [EUR 55.26 mln] to well over PLN 400 million [EUR 88.42 mln]. In 2020, we increased the total number of institutions providing assistance to children and parents from 365 to 562," Mr Morawiecki noted.

He added that 138 psychological and psychotherapeutic community care centres were launched in April 2020.

For his part, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski recalled that the decision on the investment scheme “was not a matter of an impulse originating in a political debate but a matter of a process that was already initiated in 2018. It was then that a working group was created at the Health Ministry tasked with designing a comprehensive change in the model of child psychiatry.”