Call for seven-day psychiatric cover
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.