Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Questions (396, 397, 401)

Pat Buckley

Question:

396. Deputy Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Health his plans to ensure that the €25 million unspent from budget 2018 is used to develop new services for mental health in 2019. [41907/19]

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Pat Buckley

Question:

397. Deputy Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Health if he will provide a rationale for the failure to spend €25 million allocated for mental health in 2019. [41908/19]

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Pat Buckley

Question:

401. Deputy Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Health the steps he will take to ensure that funding allocated to mental health will be spent on mental health services within the timeframe provided for by the budget in which it was allotted. [41912/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 396, 397 and 401 together.

Budget 2019 made allowance for an additional €55 million for Mental Health Services to build on existing services. This is made up of the €20 million continuing cost in 2019 of developments initiated in 2018, combined with €35 million for further new developments. Since 2012, the Mental Health HSE Budget has been increased by almost 40%.

This investment has enabled the HSE Mental Health Services to progress initiatives outlined in the National Service Plan 2019. Initiatives such as e-mental health pilot programmes and Clinical Programmes in areas such as Eating Disorders and ADHD continue to be developed and implemented with this funding. Funding is also provided in 2019 to plan for the opening of the new National Forensic Mental Hospital.

To date, the HSE has drawn down €30 million of the foregoing funding, and an application for a further €10 million is currently being processed. In addition, €3 million has been paid to Pobal for the Community Mental Health Fund.

I will be meeting the HSE in the next few days to agree the management of the remaining €12m funding for 2019.

Mental health continues to be a priority area for the Government. We recognise that mental health service users are often among the most vulnerable in society and for this reason Budget 2020 saw the Government continue its commitment to mental health with an allocation of over €1 billion.