13 May 2016
For immediate release
Lack of detailed commitment to mental health funding in Programme for Government disappointing
Mental Health Reform has expressed severe concern at the lack of a detailed commitment to mental health funding in the new Programme for Government.
The Director of Mental Health Reform Dr Shari McDaid said: “following the unacceptable diversion of €12 million from mental health funds that came to light just last month, we are hugely disappointed at the lack of detail in the Programme for Government in relation to resourcing the mental health service.
“Mental Health Reform sought mental health funding of €973 M in real terms to bring staffing levels of up to the full levels in A Vision for Change within 5 years. It is disappointing that the Government has not specified an amount of development funding for mental health per year over the lifetime of its term, as had been promised in both the Fine Gael and Fine Fáil manifestos”.
There are no specific details in the Programme for Government in relation to mental health funding however it does note “the mental health budget will be increased annually during the lifetime of this new Government”.
Meanwhile the Programme for Government commits to continued investment of €50 million per year to reduce hospital waiting lists (inclusive of €15million in funding for the National Treatment Purchase Fund).
In its snapshot analysis of the Programme for Government 2016, Mental Health Reform welcomes a number of commitments, including: the intention to frame mental health policy within human rights, to extend counselling services to people on low incomes, to establish a National Taskforce on Youth Mental Health, to fund tenancy sustainment supports and to improve the flexibility in the social welfare system.
Commenting Dr McDaid said, “It is clear from the range of mental health commitments made, that the new Government is beginning to understand the wide impact that mental health difficulties have on Irish society.”
However Mental Health Reform is extremely concerned at the lack of any commitment to end the inappropriate admission of children to adult wards and the absence of an immediate commitment to 24/7 crisis supports.
Elsewhere the Programme for Government states: “proceeds from the sale of older assets used for mental health services will be retained for new developments in mental health.”
In the past funds raised from sale of lands were used solely to fund capital developments in mental health however the Programme for Government suggests these funds may also be used for new developments/new services in mental health.
Dr McDaid stated: “We welcome the commitment to retaining money from the sale of mental health service lands within the services. The sale of the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum, Co Dublin which is prime residential land, could potentially raise a significant amount of money for investment in mental health facilities and services.”
Mental Health Reform also highlighted the lack of detail contained in the Programme for Government in relation to updating the Mental Health Act and believes there is a need for clarification of the Government’s intention to legislate for the full range of recommendations made by the Expert Group.
Mental Health Reform’s Snapshot analysis of the Programme for Government 2016 on mental health is available here:
About Mental Health Reform
Mental Health Reform is the national coalition promoting improved mental health services and the social inclusion of people with mental health difficulties. The coalition currently has 54 members. See www.mentalhealthreform.ie for more details. Mental Health Reform acknowledges the support of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government’s Scheme to Support National Organisations 2014-2016.
For more information please contact:
Communications and Campaigns Officer,
Mental Health Reform,
Tel: 086 171 1920
Tel: 01 874 9468