Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Timmy Dooley says specific measures need to be put in place to attract healthcare professionals into the health service here.

New information supplied to Deputy Dooley has confirmed that there is no Consultant Psychiatrist for the west region of the Clare/North Tipperary Mental Health Services.

Deputy Dooley said, “The fact that this region has been left without consultant cover is evidence that the government’s recruitment efforts are simply not working. We are well below the required number of consultants set out in the mental health policy “A Vision for Change” and there are serious problems in retaining consultants, doctors and nurses after they qualify.

“Fine Gael cannot continue to sit back and watch our health service go under – it needs to recognise there is a recruitment and retention crisis and put forward tangible proposals to address these deficits. Merely commentating on the situation is not enough.

“The consultants pay cut, brought in in 2012 is one issue, but there are wider problems which need to be addressed. We should be looking at training more psychiatrists – the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland sought a 10% increase in basic specialist training this year but only got half what was required.

“Fine Gael talks about prioritising mental health, but the figures speak for themselves. Huge gaps in staffing and growing waiting times are now the norm. This is a shocking state of affairs, which is completely unacceptable. The Minister must take action”, concluded Deputy Dooley.