There will be no consultant available in Waterford to provide mental health services for children and teenagers for a number of weeks this Summer.
It’s after the retirement of one, and resignation of three of the five child psychiatrists who had been based at University Hospital Waterford.
Those that resigned cited ‘unsafe’ working conditions as well as workload, poor infrastructure, not being listened to.
The one remaining psychiatrist is due to take annual leave in early July, meaning there will be no specialist active in Waterford for a number of weeks.
Speaking at the Public Accounts Committee, Sinn Fein TD for Waterford David Cullinane has asked the HSE’S Chief Operating Officer John Connaghan why this was allowed to happen.
“We had three psychiatrists providing a service and they walked out,” Deputy Cullinane said, ” and what we’re hearing is that more will do exactly the same in other parts of the country which is leaving CAHMS services in crisis.”
He ask Mr. Connaghan “why were these people not listened to (when they raised concerns in 2017?) Why was corrective action not taken?”
In response, John Connaghan said that new staff won’t be hired until systemic problems are resolved.
“We’re in the process of conducting exit interviews with each of those consultants to find out what the issues are,” he said.
“Clearly we can’t recruit new people into a service where we haven’t listened to the concerns of those who have been in the post in the past.”
“If it’s an issue of minor capital, then we’ll address that. If it’s an issue of major capital, then clearly we can’t turn that on overnight.”