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Mental Health Services Funding

Volume 692: debated on Wednesday 21 April 2021

What comparative assessment he has made of the adequacy of levels of funding for mental health services in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. (914363)

We recognise the importance of ensuring that there is proper provision and access to mental health services right across the UK. Health services are devolved in Northern Ireland. The funding allocated to this specific service is therefore a matter for the Northern Ireland Executive to allocate from within the substantial resources provided by the UK Government. The Government are providing funding of £14.2 billion to the Executive in 2021-22 and we would, of course, support them allocating some of this funding for these vital services.

Recently published figures show that between January 2017 and September 2020 mental health referral targets were missed more than 42,000 times at emergency departments in Northern Ireland. Given that rates of suicide in Northern Ireland continue to be the highest of any part of the UK, will the Minister please confirm that the funding in New Decade, New Approach to tackle the mental health crisis will be urgently released?

The hon. Lady is right to draw attention to the acute demand on all health services across the UK, including in Northern Ireland, and she is also right to refer to the funding in the NDNA agreement. There was £50 million allocated for mental health support through the confidence and supply agreement. That funding is part of £350 million provided under that agreement to support the health sector, but there is a further £60 million of capital and resource funding for medical purposes that the Government have since announced and approved, and we continue to deliver on our NDNA commitments to the Executive.