Lynch cannot rule out mental healthcare cuts

Thu, Nov 29, 2012, 00:00

Minister of State for Mental Health Kathleen Lynch has said she cannot guarantee there will be no further cuts to the sector’s budget.

“I’m not certain yet – the process isn’t complete yet,” she said yesterday, as she accepted a petition of 10,000 signatures on funding mental health services.

The Minister said she was asking for funding but that cuts were already made this year because “the country is broke”.

Just 14 staff of 414 promised posts have been appointed to new community mental health teams, which aim at modernising mental health services by diverting care away from institutions.

Ms Lynch said 200 staff were about to be appointed but admitted it has not happened “as quickly as I would have liked”. Mental Health Reform, which organised the petition, says a new €35 million earmarked for community mental health teams this year has not been spent. “Behind each time-related saving like this there are real people left in need, communities left in distress,” said Orla Barry, director of Mental Health Reform.