April 23, 2020
Concern over access to PPE and testing among psychiatrists – Flynn

Sinn Féin MLA Órlaithí Flynn has raised concerns following reports that frontline psychiatrists are struggling to access suitable PPE and COVID-19 testing.

The party spokesperson on mental health said: 

“There are many people who are struggling with anxiety due to the the impact of isolation to date and the prospect of it moving forward. 

“Our frontline mental health services continue to remain open but staff have been raising concerns over access to PPE and testing.

“Staff in frontline mental health services deserve access to PPE and testing especially considering the nature of their work. Whether it is providing one to one services or within inpatient units, much of the work is face to face.

“I would call on the Health Minister to ensure that inpatient units are not left behind when it comes to accessing PPE and testing. Vulnerable mental health inpatients and staff need the same support as those in care home settings require.

“I have called on the Health Minister previously to ensure that talking therapies and counselling were considered core services. 

“I was glad my suggestion for a dedicated online resource for mental health was taken forward. However digital services will only be able to complement the face to face services being provided in the middle of this crisis and thereafter.

“The Department of Health must ensure that mental health is not left behind as a Cinderella Service. The impact of Coronavirus will see new mental health challenges emerge and now is the time to plan and prepare mental health services for those challenges.”

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