Under funding to blame for slow development of new mental health positions - Pat Buckley TD
Sinn Féin Mental Health spokesperson Pat Buckley TD has said that under funding of mental health services has led to an unacceptable delay in the filling of new posts. Deputy Buckley was responding to a report that revealed just 230 of 750 posts allocated for new developments in the Mental Health Division were filled in the 2015-2016 period.
Teachta Buckley said;
"The Department and HSE have tried to claim that funding is not an issue but the reality is that the paltry increases in mental health spending over the last 5 years have led to money being redirected away from the development of new posts in order to keep existing services afloat.
"The funding allocated for these new posts has consistently been spent by the HSE but often not for its intended purpose. Instead money for new positions have been used to plug a funding gap in other parts of the mental health services which have not been adequately funded to keep up with demand and population growth.
"This issue has been raised many time by ourselves in Sinn Féin and campaign groups like Mental Health Reform who rightly criticised low levels of funding allocations in previous years. For 2017 the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil coalition approved just 15 million euro of additional funds, a paltry 1.8% increase which fell far short of what was needed.
"The Oireachtas Group on Mental Health proposed 37.5 million euro in line with the budget submission of MHR. Sinn Féin allocated over 40 million euro in additional funds for mental health in its 2017 budget submission.
"Unfortunately the government so far have failed to live up to its stated intention of significantly investing in mental health. We are demanding that Budget 2018 break this disappointing trend and that real increases in spending are provided for which will protect existing services and improved the delivery of new posts.
"We have a lot of work to do to build real recovery based mental health care services which is accessible and effective this cannot be done on the cheap and we cannot accept a government that thinks otherwise."