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Boards forced to siphon mental health money

Boards forced to siphon mental health money

The Government is underfunding health services so badly that district health boards are siphoning off money earmarked for mental health for other areas, says National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

“I specifically asked Health Minister Annette King at the health select committee last month whether all money allocated for mental health was being spent on mental health. She replied that mental health funding was ring-fenced and must be used for mental health services.

“I took that as an assurance that the money was going to mental health services.

“The Minister must have known that the Ministry of Health had started an investigation in July into mental health money being siphoned by boards for other purposes.

“The Burton report found we have serious problems in mental health. Now we find six health boards are under investigation for using their mental health funding for other purposes.

“It is no coincidence that the six boards are among those with the highest deficits. By underfunding boards and limiting them to 2% cost growth the Minister is forcing boards to take desperate measures to provide necessary services.

“Annette King can’t point the finger at boards for altering their books when she is screwing them down so hard financially,” says Dr Scott.

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