McCarthy says inaction on mental health services is disgrace

Alliance Health spokesperson Kieran McCarthy MLA has said that the lack of action in recent years to improve mental health services is disgraceful. He said that he is going to lead a rally at Stormont to get action from the Health and Education Ministers to improve mental health and learning disability services. His comments come as five mental health groups criticised the Executive’s report and the progress made in improving service over the past six years.

Kieran McCarthy MLA stated: “There has not been enough progress made in improving vital mental health and learning disability services since devolution returned a year and a half ago.

“It is disgraceful that the most vulnerable people in our society have not been provided with the improvements they deserve to the services that are essential to them.

“In a few weeks time I will be leading a rally at Stormont to force the Executive to get to work on improving mental health and learning disability services. People are sick and tired of being forgotten about while improvements are being made in other sections of the health service. They want real action and they want it now.

“Northern Ireland still has second-rate resources because of underinvestment in this sector. We are lagging behind compared to services provided in other parts of the UK and I am not prepared to put up this failure. The proportion of the Northern Ireland health budget spent on mental health services appears to be 50% lower than in Great Britain.

“A number of departments needs to do much work on this issue and the there is a lack of joined-up government at the moment. The Executive has to start meeting again and proving that it can work in a joined-up manner to deliver vital service improvements like these.

“Our mental healthcare staff to a very good job but they simply don’t get the financial support they need from the Executive. Massive steps need to be taken in the coming months to improve services. We need to see coherent time-factored plans set out and we need action as soon as possible.”


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