Browne presses need for additional mental health investment during meeting with Taoiseach

Published on: 23 May 2017

Fianna Fáil TD for Wexford James Browne says the Government needs to show a greater commitment to dealing with problems identified in Ireland’s mental health services.

Deputy Browne made the comments during a meeting with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny last week. The meeting was arranged to discuss the implementation of the ‘Vision for Change’ policy framework. The meeting was also attended by Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin and Minister for Mental Health Helen McEntee.

Deputy Browne said, “Last Wednesday I attended a meeting with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny to discuss the serious issues that have been identified in our mental health services and the steps the Government is taking to address them. I made it known that the current pace of reform simply isn’t good enough and greater commitment is needed from Government to ensure we have a mental health service which is fit for purpose.

“In particular I pointed out that the current implementation of the ‘Vision for Change’, or lack thereof, leaves a lot to be desired. This policy document sets out a clear pathway for reforming our mental health services to make them fit for purpose. It’s simply unacceptable that many of the recommendations contained in this landmark document remains to be implemented despite the fact that it was first published in 2006. It demonstrates that the Government simply isn’t treating the issue with the sense of urgency it deserves.

“Fianna Fáil recognises the importance of achieving full implementation of the ‘Vision for Change’ framework. The Confidence and Supply Arrangement between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael commits to the full implementation of the ‘A Vision for Change’ policy, and this remains a key priority for us. We secured additional investment for mental health services in Budget 2017 and I am working to build on this additional allocation through Budget 2018.

“I also raised concerns around Wexford’s mental health services directly with An Taoiseach. I highlighted the lack of out of hour’s services for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in the South East. I pointed out that the practice of admitting a child to an adult psychiatric unit such, as is the case in University Hospital Waterford, must come to an end. An Taoiseach committed to achieving this. This is something which I will continue to raise with the Government until the matter is resolved,” concluded Deputy Browne.

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