Psychiatrists shortage in Donegal impacting on mental health services, IHCA figures show

first_imgSix permanent Consultant Psychiatry Posts in the Donegal Mental Health service remain unfilled or temporarily filled, according to the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA).Of the six positions, four consultant posts in child, adolescence and adult psychiatry are filled by non-specialist locum doctors – meaning they have not undertaken the specialist training needed to be a specialist consultant.The lack of available psychiatrists to treat patients is adding to the long wait times experienced by patients in Donegal and the wider North West region. Information published by the HSE between January 1 to March 1 2019, on the number of children and adolescents waiting to access mental health services across the HSE’s Community Health Organisation Area 1 (covering counties Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan) shows that there were 282 children and adolescents waiting for such services.IHCA President, Dr. Donal O’Hanlon, Consultant Psychiatrist commenting on the situation in Donegal warned: “There is a consultant shortage right across Ireland and in almost every speciality, with one in five of all consultant posts empty or only temporarily filled.“However, the vacuum these shortages create are stark in mental health services in Donegal. The fact that four consultant psychiatrist posts allocated to treat children, adolescents and adults are filled by non-specialist locum consultants tells its’ own story about the extent of the crisis.“I have no doubt that the temporary or agency consultants who are temporarily occupying these positions are dedicated, hard-working professionals – but they are merely papering the cracks in the system,” warned Dr. O’Hanlon. “Patients, particularly those with mental health difficulties need consistency in the health professionals who are treating them rather than a revolving door of ever-changing consultants. This is not good for patient care.“Ireland has the lowest number of consultants in the EU, yet we train the highest number of doctors in the world. However, hundreds have left in recent years for better working conditions and pay across the globe.“The solution lies in the Minister for Health Simon Harris working with representative bodies, such as the IHCA, to improve the working conditions for consultants, especially younger consultants, to bring them back to Ireland,” he added.The situation in mental health services in the Donegal highlights the urgency with which the consultant shortage needs to be addressed.”According to the IHCA, a review reveals that six essential posts are not filled on a permanent basis: Two Consultant posts in Child and Adolescent PsychiatryTwo posts in General Adult PsychiatryOne Consultant post in Liaison Psychiatry, andOne Consultant post in Old Age Psychiatry.The number of unfilled psychiatric consultant posts was revealed as part of the IHCA’s #CARECANTWAIT twitter campaign, which seeks to highlight the impact of long waiting times on patients across Ireland.The Government’s National Mental Health Plan, ‘A Vision for Change’ was first published 13 years ago, in 2006. It set out a blueprint for the delivery of these services, yet their staffing remains hugely under-resourced, with many positions unfilled.Psychiatrists shortage in Donegal impacting on mental health services, IHCA figures show was last modified: July 24th, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *