Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy has slammed an outrageous situation whereby full time psychiatry posts in County Roscommon are still vacant due to the fact that consultants are holding the services to ransom over salary scales.
Eugene Murphy recently tabled a parliamentary question with the Minister for Health Simon Harris to investigate when full time psychiatrist posts would be made available in County Roscommon as there are currently only locum psychiatrists providing a disjointed service which is impacting negatively on patients and staff.
“In response to my parliamentary question I have been informed by the Mental Health Services of the HSE that difficulties in consultant recruitment is a significant national problem since different salary scales were introduced for new entrants. I understand that one permanent consultant post has been advertised for Roscommon. One candidate applied and has been offered the post. The candidate has indicated that he will take up the post if he is paid at the highest point of the salary scale. This application remains with the DEPR. Another consultant post will be advertised when the next cohort of higher trainees finish in July.
“This is simply outrageous- we obviously have a major problem in the first place if we can only attract one candidate for a permanent psychiatrist post and now the services are being held to ransom by greed and an unrealistic desire by consultant entrants seeking the highest point of the salary scale. The permanent post remains in limbo land while patients and staff have to rely on locum psychiatrists which provides a disjointed service and can impact negatively on the long term mental health care,” said Deputy Murphy.
The Fianna Fáil TD also stressed that the external review into mental health services in County Roscommon must be delivered in the coming week as the end of March was given as a revised deadline.
Eugene Murphy pointed out that this external review had commenced in August 2015 which is over a year and a half ago and he stressed that repeated delays in the delivery of the report were simply not acceptable and he noted that a new deadline of early March was initially given and then changed to the end of March
“This March deadline must be adhered to – the people of Roscommon have waited long enough for this external review- I expect this independent report to be negative and highly critical of the services as it is clear mental health services in Roscommon are in a crisis mode but I don’t want to see this report being used as a beating stick to justify downgrading services- rather it should be used as proof for an upgrading of a service in crisis,” concluded Deputy Murphy.