Psychiatric services in the southeast

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Sir, – Your front-page article on the loss of psychiatric services in the southeast should not surprise the Department of Health or the HSE (Sarah Burns, “Psychiatrists resigning as position ‘untenable and unsafe’”, News, June 14th).

In April of this year, there were 14 consultant psychiatry positions advertised on publicjobs.ie. These positions were originally advertised during 2016 and 2017 and had closing dates of December 31st, 2018. A total of six of these positions were on course to be advertised (and unfilled) for over 1,000 days (nearly the same length of time to complete the psychiatry higher specialist training scheme). All these jobs were removed from publicjobs.ie in April 2018, and at the time the HSE said that these jobs were removed “to allow a robust analysis of the 2016 vacancies and to consider other options for recruitment”.

Beginning an analysis of 2016 vacancies in April 2018 doesn’t inspire much confidence that either the Department of Health or the HSE are treating the ongoing staffing crisis in the healthcare system with the urgency it needs. – Yours, etc,

JUSTIN McALEESE,

Dublin 4.

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