Mental Health budget must be increased and ringfenced

FF secures agreement to fully implement A Vision for Change

MentalHealthMay2016Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth is calling on the new Government to guarantee ring-fenced funding for mental health services.  The Bailieboro based Deputy criticised the outgoing administration’s attitude to mental health funding, which saw money earmarked for mental health raided to pay for other services.

Deputy Smyth commented, “For too long now, mental health services have suffered because of the outgoing Government’s failure to allocate the resources necessary to ensure a functioning health service.  Despite promising to protect funding for mental health, Fine Gael and Labour have delayed funding allocations and instead diverted money to other areas when crises have emerged.

“The HSE’s 2016 Service Plan claimed to have set aside €35m for mental health services, however it failed to outline how and where this money would be spent.  The document merely contained vague references to “further specific initiatives”.

“Mental health issues are bordering on a national emergency.  It is disgraceful that voluntary organisations and charities are funding essential services, which should be provided by the State.  We need to properly fund our mental health services – and stop this practice of raiding the budget every time there is a shortfall in other areas.  Mental health services need to be acknowledged as being as important, if not more important as other sections of the healthcare system.

“As part of Fianna Fáil’s Confidence and Supply arrangement with Fine Gael, we have secured a promise that the new Government will fully implement all the elements of “A Vision for Change”.  In our manifesto we allocated €187m for increased spending on mental health and will continue to work towards ensuring that target is achieved.

“We need to start prioritising mental health. The next Government cannot continue to ignore the significant challenges that need to be addressed in the mental health sector and it must begin by securing a workable budget which is properly ring-fenced to ensure that services are enhanced and improved”.

 

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