The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) today (Wednesday ,October 14th ) strongly criticised the Budget 2021 allocation for mental health services as totally inadequate to properly fund the Government’s Sharing the Vision mental health strategy or to meet the mounting level of demand for mental health services, much of which is resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes said the Budget allocation of €50 million to mental health was in reality an extra €38 million with €12million to go to support existing levels of services.

He said: “As part of the much trumpeted €4 billion extra spending announced for the health services, the allocation of €38 million to mental health services amounts to roughly 1% of this overall Budget increase. This failed opportunity to significantly increase funding for mental health services shows yet again the lack of understanding by our politicians of the inadequacy of our current services or the extent of the growing demands for mental health services at every level.”

“The Budget allocation appears to totally ignore the added demand on mental health services at all levels which it is widely accepted will be one of the unfortunate legacies of the Covid -19 crisis. Meeting these demands will pose significant extra challenges to our already underfunded and understaffed mental health services.”

“Our mental health services are struggling with the reality of an incremental decline in the mental health budget as a percentage of the overall health budget from 16% during the 1980’s to 6.04% in 2020. In the context of Slaintecare it seems we are again planning for underinvestment in mental health services where Sláintecare recommends 10% of the health budget should go to mental health services while international best practice recommends up to 16%.”

“While the Government’s Sharing the Vision strategy was launched earlier this year, there is grave concern among stakeholders in the mental health services that the strategy will not be supported with the necessary funding. Yesterday’s Budget 2021 allocation for mental health will only confirm those fears.”

Media Contact: Derek Cunningham 086-2430535

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