Minister naive to think that new consultant contract will resolve issues
Tuesday 24 January 2023. The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has said that the suggestion by the Minister for Health that the new consultant contract will help address issues in the Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS) was naïve. The Minister made the suggestion on Morning Ireland this (Tuesday) morning.
Speaking today, Professor Matthew Sadlier, Consultant Psychiatrist and member of the IMO Consultant Committee, said that the new contract does not address key shortcomings in the Irish health service which make it unattractive and, in cases, unsafe to work in and which are at the heart of the current crisis in CAMHS services.
Professor Sadlier said that the report on failings in the CAMHS service published this week highlighted the impact of unfunded and under-resourced structural changes. Professor Sadlier said that these errors were currently being repeated via the aggressive expansion of free GP services without sufficient resources to deal with the inevitable increase in demand.
In respect of the crisis in CAMHS, Professor Sadlier said that the crisis is the inevitable result of years of inattention and underfunding of critical health and mental health services across the State. We are failing our young people and the staff who work in the service.
He said; “The inability of the health system generally, and in this case CAMHS, to recruit sufficient number of consultants so that teams are supported and equipped to do their job, is a direct contributor to this failure in care provision. We have known for a long time of the unmet need of patients, and we also know that will grow significantly as a direct result of the pandemic, yet we are still woefully unprepared.”
The IMO believes that the key issues which must be addressed in responding to this crisis are:
- Medical Workforce Planning for services
- Ability and funding to recruit sufficient numbers of consultants and support teams to meet patient need
- Focus on supportive services for medication management such as integration of clinical pharmacy into Multi-Disciplinary Teams (MDTs), lack of access to medical diagnostic services to Community Mental Health Teams and electronic patient records/prescribing
- Assessment of impact of moving care to the community with inadequate staffing levels and governance structures
The IMO has been highlighting the issues in our mental health services for many years and appeal to Government to seriously tackle the problems with medical recruitment in both CAMHS and the wider health services.