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There has been no increase in the number of basic specialist training (BST) places for psychiatry, despite calls from the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland that more places should be made available, the Medical Independent (MI) can report.
The number of BST trainee places is 63 again this year, which is the same number as 2018.
Last year, the President of the College Dr John Hillery expressed his frustration with the number of places.
“The situation is much the same [as last year],” Dr Hillery told MI.
“We came to an agreement to continue with the same amount of training places as before. We are doing more with less already and we can’t stretch it any further. We would have liked to have the capacity to do more.”
Dr Hillery also highlighted the HSE’s refusal to release funding for doctors in higher specialist training. He said these posts would help deal with the long waiting lists burdening psychiatric services.
“There are other issues, which would help address the public need that is out there, such as creating more senior registrar posts,” according to Dr Hillery.
“But we have a problem therein that we have agreed to recognise certain posts for higher training, but the HSE won’t pay the salaries… Higher trainees can take more responsibility, more decisions and thus can help with service need, but the HSE won’t come forward with the money for them.”
Dr Hillery also spoke about the difficulty in getting psychiatrists to become involved in College activities due to work pressures.
“It is hard to get members to join in things because of the time available to them,” Dr Hillery said.
The College’s Spring Conference 2019 took place in the Castleknock Hotel, Dublin, on 3-5 April.