April 8, 2021
Dual Diagnosis Working Group meetings must resume – Thomas Gould TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Addiction, Recovery and Wellbeing, Thomas Gould TD has called on the Government and the HSE to start holding meetings of the Dual Diagnosis Working Group again. 

A Dual Diagnosis Working Group was established in 2017. They began holding meetings in October 2017 but have not had a meeting since the end of 2018, as there was no National Clinical Lead in place despite a hiring campaign. 

According to FOI documents, since the 1stof October 2019, there has not been any correspondence relating to the Dual Diagnosis Working Group within the Dept of Health.

As of February 2021, according to Minister Mary Butler, a National Clinical Lead was hired. However, this National Clinical Lead only replaced the previous National Clinical Lead who left this post at the end of 2018. 

Teachta Gould said:

“It is disgraceful that regular monthly meetings with the Dual Diagnosis Working Group have discontinued since the end of 2018. 

“There are thousands of people across this country who have a dual diagnosis and they must not continue to be ignored by this Government. 

“Most mental health or addiction services across this country are not adequately resourced to deal with people with a dual diagnosis.“The discontinuation of meetings of this working group highlights the incompetence of the Government in supporting people with a dual diagnosis. 

“The delay in meeting resumption proves this Working Group was nothing more than a paper exercise in the first place. This current Government have continued the legacy of the previous Government and entirely overlooked this working group. 

“The time has come for the Dual Diagnosis Working Group to start meeting again immediately.  

“This Government has been consistent in refusing to address an issue until it becomes a problem. Dual Diagnosis is already a problem, will it take a crisis for the government to actually act? 

“It is now time for the Government and the HSE to work together to begin plans to hold meetings of the Dual Diagnosis Working Group, at least, monthly, before this continues to become a more severe problem. 

“For too long, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil Governments have failed people with mental health issues. People with a dual diagnosis must not continue to be forgotten by this Government.”

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