Taoiseach’s commitment on addiction rehab waiting times welcome – Thomas Gould TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Addiction, Recovery and Wellbeing, Thomas Gould TD, has today welcomed news that the Taoiseach will explore the significant increase in addiction rehabilitation waiting times.
Teachta Gould said:
“109 beds were lost in rehabilitation facilities nationally last year. We’ve seen in some places wait times doubled. Figures provided to me by the HSE show that at least 1728 people waited over 12 months across the state from March 2019 to date. Many facilities don’t keep waiting lists or were closed for large portions of 2020.
“When I asked the Minister about this, he informed me that there was nothing the HSE could do about it. The Taoiseach may have denied that today but it was a written response from the Minister.
“Minister Feighan’s apathy to this situation is not going unnoticed.
“There was plenty that could have been done about it and could still be done to replace the beds that are closed. Minister Feighan chose instead to bury his head in the sand on this issue.
“I will send on the full figures to the Taoiseach today that highlight the serious concerns here.
“Rather than waiting until already scandalous waiting times are at crisis point and lives are lost, the government need to address this now.
“A commitment was given in Budget 2021 that 150 residential treatment episodes would be made available this year. What the Minister can’t seem to decide is if these are to replace lost episodes or in addition to the replacements.
“A proactive approach could have prevented this situation in the first place. The Minister took his eye off the ball here. He needs to step up now and sort this.
“People in addiction work hard enough to get to the point that they’ve been approved for residential treatment. Waiting 6 months from that assessment to their stay is a recipe for disaster."