June 30, 2022
Mental Health treatment should be based on need, not on ability to pay – Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has said that the two-tiered health service is failing people presenting with mental health difficulties.

He has noted with serious concern the fact that 2021 saw an increase in the number of children admitted into adult inpatient psychiatric facilities

Teachta Ward was speaking after the launch of the Mental Health Commission’s Annual Report which states that people who present privately for mental health treatment receive a much better standard of care than those who present publicly.

Teachta Ward:

“The government have failed in their commitment to move away from a two-tiered health system. This is obvious when it comes to people’s mental health care.

“The Mental Health Commission’s Annual Report has shown there is a gap in the quality of care that people presenting for mental health care receive privately over public patients.

“The report states that there is clear evidence that the independent, private mental health service providers are generally providing care in superior standard premises than those within the public system

“Treatment should be based on need, not on ability to pay.

“There is also the post code lottery for health care; with those living in Dublin able to access better mental health services than those that live in Cork.

“The fact that the Mental Health Commission found that five HSE mental health facilities in Cork are unsuitable is a damming incitement of years of underinvestment and lack of political will to bring public mental health services into the 21st century.

“The report also states that someone who lives in the Dublin area, who has private health insurance, has much better choice and access than those living elsewhere. That is unacceptable.

“The report also showed an increase in children being admitted into unsuitable adult psychiatric facilities .

“In 2021, there were 32 admissions involving children to adult units compared with 27 admissions to  adult units in 2020.

“I asked the HSE this week at the Mental Health Committee if this could rise again this year with the closure of 11 beds in CAMHS, Linn Dara and they responded that this is a possibility .

“We need to get rid of this draconian practice which sees some of our most vulnerable children with acute mental health needs admitted to adult psychiatric hospitals. It is a very frightening experience for any child to be admitted to a hospital for mental health reasons, but this is exasperated for those children who are placed into adult units.”

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