Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has highlighted the failure by Government to fund Mental Health for yet another year.
The Dublin Mid-West TD was speaking following the launch of Budget 2024 this week.
Teachta Ward said:
“Another Budget day, another missed opportunity for mental health, and another let down for individuals who are accessing mental health services and their families.
“Since this Government was formed, we have seen waiting lists for primary and acute services increase and double in some cases.
“We have seen a lack of further investment into eating disorder services, early intervention in psychosis, perinatal mental health services.
“And on each Budget day, there is a sense of deflation – from those using services, mental health organisations that are starved of funding, and from opposition parties.
“Those on the ground know that early intervention is key. They know that primary care services need to be funded so that acute services are not as required.
“Those on the ground also know that our acute services, particularly those in CAMHS and the National Clinical Programmes, need to expand. But once again, the Budget offers little reassurance.
“There is often smoke and mirrors of what is announced, what is real, and we often have to wait until the HSE National Service plan to see what is actually funded, often to be disappointed once again.
“Minister Mary Butler has expressed her disappointment in the allocation for mental health from Budget 2024.
“The Ministers’ disappointment will be of cold comfort to patients in crisis.
“For mental health, this Government have always turned an open goal into an own goal. They are out of ideas, and they are out of time.
“Sinn Féin produces an Alternative Health Budget each year. It is descriptive, it is clear, and it is fully costed – with costs confirmed by both the Department of Public Expenditure and the HSE.
“Sinn Féin is serious about funding our mental health services, announcing over €75 million worth of new measures in our Alternative Budget.
“We are serious about funding our CAMHS teams, increasing inpatient capacity and restoring CAMHS teams to their full complement, over €40 million of an investment.
“We would fund the rollout of the model of care plans for our national clinical programmes, the rollout of universal counselling on GP referral.
“We have a raft of new measures, and they are ready to go. People have been waiting too long and they deserve better, they deserve a government that cares.”