Call for seven-day psy­chi­atric cover

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS - By DEB­O­RAH COLE­MAN

EN­HANCED seven-day psy­chi­atric cover was de­manded for Wick­low this week af­ter it was re­vealed that there are cur­rently eight va­cant psy­chi­a­trist posts in the county.

TD Pat Casey ex­pressed con­cern about the high level of va­cant po­si­tions which cover spe­cial­i­ties such as Child and Ado­les­cent, Psy­chi­a­try of Learn­ing Dis­abil­ity and Psy­chi­a­try of Old Age, as well as gen­eral psy­chi­a­try.

He said that na­tion­ally the rate of con­sul­tant psy­chi­a­trists avail­able in the coun­try is half the EU av­er­age but Wick­low is even lower again.

‘When we con­sider these va­can­cies we should also bear in mind that Ire­land has six con­sul­tant psy­chi­a­trists per 100,000 of pop­u­la­tion, just half the EU av­er­age, and yet we are strug­gling sim­ply to main­tain an al­ready low base,’ he said.

Deputy Casey cited the 2012 con­sul­tant pay cut as a po­ten­tial rea­son for the lack of can­di­dates and called for its re­ver­sal as soon as pos­si­ble.

‘We have been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a high va­cancy num­bers for some years now. For ex­am­ple, of the 44 Con­sul­tant Psy­chi­a­trist posts ad­ver­tised na­tion­ally in 2015 and 2016, al­most a quar­ter had no ap­pli­cants, while 30 per cent had only one ap­pli­cant. We also need to look at train­ing more psy­chi­a­trists. The Col­lege of Psy­chi­a­trists of Ire­land sought a 10 per cent in­crease in ba­sic spe­cial­ist train­ing this year but only got half what was re­quired. Fur­ther­more the re­port of the Joint Oireach­tas Com­mit­tee on the Fu­ture of Men­tal Health Care says re­cruit­ment should be man­aged at lo­cal level rather than na­tion­ally as is cur­rently the case,’ he said.

He called for mat­ters in Wick­low to be ad­dressed as a mat­ter of ur­gency.

‘Wick­low also does not yet have en­hanced seven-day week cover un­like other ar­eas of the Coun­try. As the Win­ter months are the most dif­fi­cult for those with men­tal health is­sues this must be ad­dressed as a mat­ter of ur­gency,’ said Deputy Casey.

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