Mental health services will continue to struggle until psychiatric consultant positions increase, TD says

Mental health services will continue to struggle until psychiatric consultant positions increase, TD says

A Fianna Fáil TD says the mental health services will continue to struggle until the number of permanent psychiatric consultant positions increases.

The party recently received information from the HSE that shows that just 302 out of 456 psychiatrist posts are filled on a permanent basis.

Mental Health Spokesperson for the party James Browne says the lack of permanent psychiatrists is restricting timely access to much needed services for patients:

“Recently, I received information from the HSE that shows that just 302 out of 456 psychiatrist posts are filled on a permanent basis," he said.

“Some 62 posts are vacant or ‘unmatched’ according to the HSE while another 100 posts are filled on a temporary basis.

These figures are compounded by the fact that Ireland has in any case just half the EU average for Consultant Psychiatrists with 6 per 100,000 of population so we are struggling simply to maintain an already low base.

A pay cut seven years ago is being put forward as a reason why the positions aren't filled.

“There can be little or no doubt that the 2012 pay cut for consultants is having an impact as it is in other areas of the health service. The Minister for Health knows this but has yet to take any action," Deputy Browne added.

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