July 26, 2023
Appropriate adult mental health services must be a priority for a restored Executive – Kearney

Sinn Féin’s Declan Kearney has called for an end to the differential approach to managing Adult ADHD diagnoses and treatment between health trusts across the north.

Speaking after meeting with senior Northern Trust management with responsibility for mental health and learning disability services, the South Antrim MLA said:

“Since meeting with the Department of Health Permanent Secretary, Peter May in April, to raise concerns about the differential approach to delivering Adult ADHD services between health trusts across the north, I finally secured a meeting with senior Northern Trust officials to discuss the absence of diagnoses and treatment provision within our local trust area. 

“Local Councillor Lucille O’Hagan and I put the case very strongly about the existing unmet need for Adult ADHD diagnoses and treatment, and expressed our deep concern that no provision exists within the Northern Trust area, leaving vulnerable adults to seek private provision.

“We recognise that there are extreme pressures on the health and social care system right across the north, however the fact remains there is a differential approach being taken between trusts in relation to the ability to provide diagnostic and treatment services. 

“I am very concerned that the previously notified commitment to introduce a pilot programme for delivering validation of private diagnoses and to open a clinical pathway to treatment is now stalled. I urged that a resolution is expedited to ensure that the proposed pilot scheme is introduced.  

“We voiced deep concerns that while anecdotally the need is clearly increasing, there is still no clarity in relation to the extent of the need which must be supported. This in itself is critical to ensuring that an appropriately resourced service is put in place.  

“Myself and Cllr O Hagan were assured that every effort will be made to bring forward the proposed pilot validation scheme, and we have agreed to meet with management again in two months’ time.

“Sinn Féin will continue to work constructively with the board to seek delivery of this service in the Northern Trust area. 

“In the meantime, I will be writing to the Department’s Strategic Planning and Performance Group to reiterate my concerns about this health inequality in the Northern Trust, and to call for the urgent commissioning of an appropriately resourced Adult ADHD service across the region.

“It is absolutely untenable that vulnerable adults should be left without the supports to which they are entitled. Vulnerability of service provision within the wider health and social care system is no excuse for failing vulnerable people and their families.

“The lack of adequate mental health and learning disability services for both adults and younger people is unacceptable. Effective redress of this systemic crisis must become a critical priority for a restored Executive.” 

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