November 28, 2008


Mental health is now the domain of lawyers

Mental health has become the domain of lawyers, according to Mr Pearse Finegan, Director of the ICGP/HSE Mental Health Project. He was speaking at the ICGP Winter Meeting 2008.

“Mental health tribunals cost €10,000 each, and every admitted patient has to have a tribunal within 21 days,” he said. “Mental health is no longer the domain of doctors, but it’s lawyers who make money from it.” He added that although around 90 per cent of psychological problems are treated in general practice, most of the funding for mental health goes into consultant-led and hospital care.

“One billion euro was given to treating mental illness in 2007, but how much of this went into primary care? This €1 billion mostly goes to treating the 10 per cent of patients who need specialist mental healthcare, and very little goes to fund the 90 per cent of patients treated in general practice.”