Irish Independent: ‘Dire state’ of mental services putting lives at risk, top doctor says
Following our press release from 22 August, the Irish Independent writes about the dire state of mental health services in Ireland, which is currently putting patients’ lives at risk. Read the article in full below or on the Irish Independent website here.
Patients’ lives are being put at risk because of the “dire state” of our mental health services, a leading psychiatrist has warned.
Dr William Flannery, a consultant psychiatrist and president of the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland, said: “The provision of mental health services in this country is in a dire state, and major problems are evident across the board for children, adolescents and adults.
“We are currently experiencing unacceptably long waiting lists for urgent care – and the crisis is particularly acute among children and adolescents who are the cohort who need to be treated particularly rapidly.
“This is a huge failing, particularly when public confidence in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) is so low given recent revelations on resourcing.”
The Mental Health Commission watchdog recently highlighted the outdated and neglected state of many HSE-run psychiatric units coupled with staffing issues.
Figures also show there are more than 4,200 children in mental distress on waiting lists for CAMHS, with 508 in a queue for care for over a year.
He said the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland, the professional training body representing over 1,000 doctors, has warned that Government failings on mental health are putting patients’ lives at risk, and that a radical overhaul of the entire system is needed as an urgent priority.
“Major problems are evident across all mental health services, including unacceptable waiting lists for children and adults who need urgent care.
He added there are “inadequate resources for prisoners”.
It comes against a background of a serious recruitment and retention crisis among doctors.
Urgent Government investment and a detailed plan on resourcing are needed to deal with a “tsunami” of mental health issues faced by people across the country, he added.
Pointing to revelations in the Irish Independent that more than 3,000 children and adolescents were turned away from CAMHS services in the first four months of this year even after being referred to the service by a GP, he said: “This is a depressing example of how disjointed and inadequate our health services
He also said recent reports of mental health issues experienced by inmates in the prison system are “highly disturbing and it is not right or fair that certain inmates suffering with mental illness are detained in prisons”.
Dr Flannery stressed that “a consistent negative theme in mental health services was the recruitment and retention crisis which is resulting in a steady stream of medical professionals leaving the health system.”