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According to a report in today’s Irish Times Minister Kathleen Lynch, Minister of State with responsibility for mental health, has learned from Department of Health and HSE officials that €12 million of the €35 million ring-fenced for development of mental health care in budget 2016 was being diverted to other areas of the health service.
Commenting on the news the Director of Mental Health Reform Dr Shari McDaid said the diversion of any mental health funding was unacceptable and should not be tolerated.
“Ring-fenced funding for mental health should not be viewed as a pot of money to prop up other areas of the health service. It doesn’t show parity of esteem between mental and physical health and proves that we still have a struggle on our hands to ensure mental health is taken seriously and given the priority it deserves,” said Dr McDaid.
This is the second time already this year that mental health funding has been unfairly targeted, according to Mental Health Reform. While other areas of the health service received additional funds to deal with pressures, mental health did not, the organisation said. “Yet now we learn that the funds that were to be ring-fenced for new developments in mental health are to be diverted to other areas.”