Dáil debates

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Hospital Waiting Lists: Motion [Private Members]


7:25 pm

Photo of Mark WardMark Ward (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I thank my colleague Deputy Cullinane for tabling this important motion to tackle the hospital waiting lists. It is shameful that almost 900,000 citizens of this State are languishing on waiting lists just to get the treatment they need at this very moment. It is good to see the Minister of State responsible for mental health present. I am my party's spokesperson on mental health. We are all aware that early intervention is key in a child's development.

The latest figures I have on waiting lists indicate there are still more than 2,500 children waiting for a child and adolescent mental health service, CAMHS, appointment. Almost 9,000 children are waiting for a primary care psychology appointment, which is not good enough. To have testimonies in the debate on this motion, we asked people to contact us and outline their real-life experiences. Some people cannot even get on a waiting list. One response we got was from an individual who stated their daughter was referred to the local psychological service only to get a letter back stating there was no service in her area. This is not good enough.

We have had announcements from the Government on additional funding for mental health services. Back in February, the Taoiseach announced, to much fanfare, €10 million in additional funding for a Covid response to mental health issues. Not a penny of this has been spent yet. We are in a mental health emergency, yet not one single euro of the money announced has been spent.

I got a response to a parliamentary question this week on the money allocated for Sharing the Vision and the early recommendations in that respect. A sum of €23 million was allocated for Sharing the Vision in the budget for 2021. To date, €2.7 million has been spent. That is less than 10% of the money allocated. We need to make sure this money is not rewashed, redressed in a new shirt and tie, and used for the forthcoming budget; we need to make sure it is available and ring-fenced for the people who really need it.

We were in a mental health crisis pre-Covid; we are now in the mental health emergency. This Government needs to get the finger out and start putting things into action. If it is announcing money for mental health supports and services, we need to make sure those resources go to the services that really need them.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.