A New Mental Health Bill must be prioritised in 2019 – Pat Buckley TD

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Sinn Fein's Mental Health spokesperson Pat Buckley TD has called for the government to prioritise the delivery of a new bill on Mental Health to address outstanding patients rights issues.

The Cork East TD was responding to the release of the government Spring Legislative Programme which includes a new bill to implement the recommendations of the Expert Review Group which were published in late 2014.

Deputy Buckley said;

“I am glad to see that the government lists its intent to address the Expert Groups recommendations in their Mental Health (Amendment) Bill.

"Unfortunately much of the work has not yet been done or even started it would seem as the status of the bill is only at early drafting.

"This is particularly disappointing when you consider that the government has not published a single piece of major legislation on Mental Health since its establishment nearly 3 years ago.

"Much of the work has already been done by the Expert Group themselves in their comprehensive report into the flaws of the existing legislation and the needed reform.

"An evolving understanding of these issues has also been aided by the work of groups like Mental Health Reform which published its own analysis of the review in 2015 and has worked along with a range of stakeholders and campaigners to continue to highlight the need for new legislation.

"The government must now take from this work and draft quickly the legislation that has been plainly needed for a number of years.

"Of course it is essential that the legislation is done right but so far years of foot dragging have done nothing to improve the situation.

"I also call on the government to re-establish the Committee on the Future of Mental Health to aid in this developing work and to ensure that reform is timely and to the highest standard.”

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