Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North Frank O’Rourke says the Government needs to honour its commitment to increase spending on drug treatment services in Kildare.
The HSE recently confirmed to Deputy O’Rourke that there still are no specialised drug treatment services in Kildare. Patients are forced to travel to Dublin to avail of services as a result of this.
Deputy O’Rourke said, “The Government accepts that it is best practice to treat patients with drug addiction issues in a community based setting. However to date the necessary funding hasn’t been made available to allow the HSE to set up a dedicated treatment service in Kildare. The end result of this is that many patients simply cannot avail of drug treatment services that they desperately need access to.
“I have raised this issue in the Dáil on a number of occasions. The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has given me a firm commitment that a specialised drug treatment service will be established in Kildare. He has recognised the enormous benefits of adopting a community based approach for the provision of drug treatment services. However, to date he has failed to deliver on this commitment.
“I recently met with Minister Harris to reiterate my call for a specialised drug treatment service to be established in Kildare. He has assured me that such a service will be made available by the end of the year. I have also been in contact with the HSE to highlight the importance of progressing this issue. They have noted that a lack of drug treatment services in Kildare is resulting in an average waiting time of nine months for people accessing such services.
“The HSE has acknowledged the urgent need for a specialised service to be established in Kildare, but they are waiting for the Minister to sign off on funding. I’m calling on Minister Harris to stop stalling on this issue by releasing the necessary funding. Patients shouldn’t have to wait months on end to access services which they urgently need, and they shouldn’t be forced to travel great distances when the Government itself acknowledges that drug treatment services should be delivered in a community based setting.
“This is something which I will continue pursuing with the Government until Kildare gets its own dedicated drug treatment service,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.