The government introduced plans yesterday to greatly improve service for children and teenagers suffering from mental illness, including eliminating waiting lists for the children’s mental illness ward at the National Hospital (BUGL).
About 165 children and teenagers suffering from mental illness are currently waiting for treatment, Morgunbladid reports.
Over the next 18 months ISK 150 million (USD 2.2 million, EUR 1.6 million) will be put into improving the service at BUGL, which is, according to Minister of Health Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, part of the government’s policy to improve the circumstances and health of children and teenagers.
“Wellbeing is the basis for a happy life and we should increase the probability that Icelandic children live under circumstances contributing to their wellbeing,” Thórdarson said. “We also have to ensure that children who are in trouble have access to the best services available and I believe that this plan will enable that.”
The plan includes improved access to specialists by, among other means, increasing cooperation in treatment solutions between different parts of the country. BUGL’s role as an advisor will be strengthened and specialists working there will increasingly visit health care centers outside the capital region.
The number of employees at BUGL will also be increased to help eliminate waiting lists and balance the ward’s operations. A project aimed at preventing and reducing the consequences of serious mental and behavioral disorders will also be launched.
Senior physician Gudrún Bryndís Gunnarsdóttir said these plans are great news for BUGL, but some of its employees say ISK 150 million (USD 2.2 million, EUR 1.6 million) is not nearly enough to solve its many problems.