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President highlights lack of training posts for psychiatry

The President of the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland has drawn attention to the lack of funding for training posts in advance of the College’s Winter Conference.

Speaking to the Medical Independent, Dr John Hillery said that “successful training schemes” now mean that there are “more and more people coming through” in Ireland who want to train as psychiatrists, but there are insufficient training posts. “The problem is we don’t currently have enough places to train people,” Dr Hillery said.

There are 63 basic specialist training (BST) positions in Ireland for 2019, the same amount as last year. The College of Psychiatrists sought 66 positions for 2019. This is significantly lower than the target of 80-85 BST training posts outlined in the College’s Workforce Planning Report 2013-2023.

According to Dr Hillery, “There’s very little money in the system and there’s no money for new posts.”

He described the general state of psychiatry in the country right now as one “of some demoralisation” due to lack of resources, staffing for multidisciplinary teams and support for specialist areas.

He also pointed to a survey taken recently by the College in collaboration with Family Carers Ireland, a repeat of a survey carried out in 2009, which shows that home carers largely felt their mental and physical health was negatively impacted by their work.

Asked for his opinion on Budget 2020, Dr Hillery said, “We were hard put to find a lot on mental health in it.”

The College’s Winter Conference will take place on 14-15 November in Belfast.

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