November 15, 2023
HSE figures underline government’s failure to prioritise mental health in Budget 2024 – Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has accused the Government of not prioritising mental health spending for the sixth year in a row, after figures were released to him by the HSE.

The Dublin Mid-West TD said that successive governments have failed to prioritise mental health.

Teachta Ward said:

“Once again the Government has failed to increase mental health spending in relation to the overall health budget.

“A response I received from a parliamentary question stated that the overall percentage of spending for mental health in the health budget remained at 5.8% for 2024.

“We have seen a steady decrease in this figure, with 6.3% in 2019 of the overall health budgets spent on mental health to 5.8% this year.

“We are heading in the wrong direction as international recommendations, and those set out in Sláintecare, for mental health spending are 16% and 10%, respectively, of the overall health budget.

“We will have to wait until the HSE releases their National Service Plan next year to see where this funding will go.

“But what we can take from the Minister is that the National Clinical Programmes for Mental Health, which include those for eating disorders, self-harm and suicide prevention, ADHD in adults, early intervention in psychosis and perinatal mental health, will go a second year without additional funding. How can these vital programmes expand if they are not funded properly?

“Current and past governments are failing to grasp the mental health emergency that we are facing, and this lack of true increased spending will have knock-on consequences for the service provision, waiting times and the treatment of service users.

“Sinn Féin proposed a new spend of €75 million in our alternative budget. In government we would  raise the spending to meet the required recommended percentage.

“The Government has thrown in the towel on mental health. The longer Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are in Government, the worse things will get.

“People and their families deserve a mental health service that works for them and Sinn Féin is committed to delivering this as a priority.”

The response to Deputy Ward’s Parliamentary Question can be read here.

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