Mental health strategy without proper funding will be waste of paper - Pat Buckley TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Pat Buckley TD has welcomed the publication of the new 'Sharing the Vision' mental health strategy but warned it will be a wasted exercise without proper funding and implementation oversight.
The Cork East TD was responding the publication of the strategy which has been in development for four years and is set to update on the now fourteen year old 'Vision for Change' plan which went largely unimplemented due to a lack of investment in new services and staffing.
Teachta Buckley said;
“We will dissect this strategy over the coming weeks to ensure that it is a worthy update to Vision for Change which at the time was a bold and modern plan for a recovery centred community model of care.
"What is clear today though is that any strategy, no matter how well crafted, is only as good as the funding that comes with it and the oversight put in place to hold government to account in implementation.
"It was disappointing to hear outgoing Minister Daly at the launch criticise people like myself for continuing to raise the lack of funding provided by his government which have plagued reform efforts. Mental health is not something to be done on the cheap, the investment needed is crucial and absolutely worth it.
"Best practice in mental health has of course developed and changed over fourteen years, but the need to adequately staff services, to provide prompt and accessible care around the clock is not something that is going to change. By under funding services, numerous previous governments have stalled progress and the best report is made a waste of paper without proper budgetary commitments.
"The lack of any commitment on funding for mental health in the recent Programme for Government by Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party is deeply concerning. Any government must put its money where its mouth is on mental health.
"Sinn Féin would like to see a permanent Oireachtas Mental Health Committee to liaise with the National Implementation and Monitoring Committee and hold the government to account. I have been calling for this since the Future of Mental Health committee was wound up in 2018.
"I will also be meeting with campaigners, experts and representatives of health care workers in the coming weeks to get their opinions on this strategy and how we can all work together to ensure that mental health reform becomes a reality and not just another strategy on a shelf.”