Govt Accused Of Blocking Investment In Mental Health

The government has been accused of abusing the money message provision in order to block additional investment in mental health.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health James Browne made the criticism in response to a letter from the Minister for Health using the money message as an excuse not to proceed with his Mental Health Parity Bill 2017.

The legislation aims to address the inequality of mental health treatment by placing mental health services at the centre of all key decisions taken by the Department of Health.

Deputy Browne said: "I am deeply frustrated that the government has chosen to use the money message mechanism to block this important Bill. Minister Harris claims there is 'significant risk of considerable financial implications'. Essentially, he does not want to invest in mental health. That's the long and the short of it.

"Fine Gael wax lyrical about the importance of mental health, yet when it comes to actual investment, it is simply not prepared to go the distance.

"This legislation aims to level the playing field between physical and mental health services. A similar law already exists in the UK, and yet for some reason Minister Harris doesn't see fit to allow it to proceed here.

"This decision exposes Fine Gael's lack of commitment to mental health services. It is bitterly disappointing, but unsurprising from a government which is completely out of touch with the reality of the situation on the ground," concluded Deputy Browne.


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