Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health James Browne TD has warned that unless vacant consultant posts are filled, the crisis in our mental health services will only worsen.

His warning comes after the Irish Hospital Consultants Association expressed concern that 100 permanent consultant psychiatric jobs remain unfilled.

Deputy Browne said, “Our mental health service has been struggling with staff recruitment and retention for years, and despite warning after warning from doctors, nurses, frontline staff and mental health campaigners, Fine Gael has failed to get to grips with the situation.

“Staff are struggling to cope with the demand placed on the services, and the fact that there are simply not enough doctors in the system means waiting lists are at an all time high, and people with mental health issues are not receiving the care they need.

“There are almost 2,500 children on waiting lists for an appointment with the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service, with the majority of them waiting weeks, and in many cases months to be seen. This is not best practice and in fact could impact these children’s outcomes.

“The Health Minister must get serious about addressing the major staffing deficiencies in our mental health services. We have been told time and time again that it is a priority for the government, but we are simply not seeing any action. Unless deliberate measures aimed at encouraging doctors and nurses into the system we will continue to see serious issues with waiting lists and the roll out of services”.