Local Sinn Féin public representative, Deputy Sorca Clarke, has said that the two-tiered health service is failing people presenting with mental health difficulties.
She has noted with serious concern the fact that 2021 saw CHO8, which includes her constituency, score the worst for providing individual care plans with a shameful compliance rate of 16.7%.
Teachta Clarke was speaking after the launch of the Mental Health Commission’s annual report which states that people who present privately for mental health treatment receive a much better standard of care than those who present publicly.
“The government has failed in its commitment to move away from a two-tiered health system. This is obvious when it comes to people’s mental health care.
“The Mental Health Commission’s annual report has shown there is a gap in the quality of care that people presenting for mental health care receive privately over public patients.
“The report states that there is clear evidence that the independent, private mental health service providers are generally providing care in superior standard premises than those within the public system
“Treatment should be based on need, not on ability to pay and this report is yet another damming indictment of years of under-investment and lack of political will to bring public mental health services into the 21st century.
“The report states that someone who lives in the Dublin area, who has private health insurance, has much better choice and access than those living elsewhere. That is unacceptable yet not surprising. The report also showed an increase in children being admitted into unsuitable adult psychiatric facilities.
“In 2021, there were 32 admissions involving children to adult units compared with 27 admissions to adult units in 2020.
“My colleague and Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Deputy Mark Ward asked the HSE this week at the Mental Health Committee if that figure could rise again this year with the closure of 11 beds in CAMHS, Linn Dara and they responded that this is a possibility.
“We need to get rid of this draconian practice which sees some of our most vulnerable children with acute mental health needs admitted to adult psychiatric hospitals. It is a very frightening experience for any child to be admitted to a hospital for mental health reasons, but this is exasperated for those children who are placed into adult units.”
“The public health service in this country continues to fail the most vulnerable in our society,” Teachta Clarke concluded.