€600 million budget hole stopping investment in Mental Health - Pat Buckley TD
Sinn Féin Mental Health spokesperson Pat Buckley TD has said that investment in developing the mental health services are being halted by a massive €600 million overspend as Budget 2019 approaches.
The Deputy said that unless this gap can be plugged, any spending commitments from the government cannot be taken seriously.
Deputy Buckley continued:
“In every budget in recent years the systematic under funding of the health service has been a main theme.
“The result of this under funding we cannot deliver the services people need year on year. This is especially problematic for a mental health service which has been particularly neglect under the umbrella of general health spending.
“Sinn Fein Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD warned the government and their partners in Fianna Fáil last year that they were not giving our health service the money necessary to even standstill let alone improve.
“The HSE itself has been open about the problem and wrote to the government to highlight the problem only weeks after last years budget announcements.
"The government were told in no uncertain terms that the service was being underfunded for 2018 to the tune of hundreds of millions euro.
“Due to this funding problem which has increased year on year, any spending announced by the government in Budget 2019 will likely be swallowed up in address this gap.
"This means that unless there is an increase of overall health spending above and beyond €600 million euro then not a single penny of new investment will be made in the health service this year.
"Sinn Fein has in our annual budget proposals shown the government that this gap can be filled and new investment can be made. We have committed not just to plug the gap in spending which has developed but to fund new services while keeping up with mounting demand on existing services.
"In total in mental health we have shown that while maintaining services and plugging the overspend gap we can also put €51million of new money into mental health services and roles which are entirely new and desperately needed.
"If the government don’t plug the 600 million euro overspend any claims to be investing in new services will be just that, unsubstantiated and untrustworthy claims."