Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has said that recruitment and staff retention issues in the health service is affecting the rollout of specialist eating disorder teams across the state.
Teachta Ward has received two responses from the HSE that say delays in teams becoming operational are expected due to the failure to recruit specialist staff.
Teachta Ward said:
“The health service is on its knees and staff retention and recruitment are among the main issues affecting the provision of care.
“Specialist services like those for eating disorders, unfortunately, are experiencing the same issues and this is affecting the rollout of badly needed teams.
“The state currently has only three out of nine specialist eating disorder teams in operation – one adult team and two CAMHS teams.
“The HSE aims to deliver three new teams a year but has experienced issues when attempting to fill positions for consultant psychiatrists.
“I have received two responses to parliamentary questions from the HSE that state that some positions are still vacant, and that another has had to be readvertised.
“It is welcome to see that these are progressing but government should be focused on ensuring that service delivery is a priority.
“Sinn Féin is committed to delivering a joined-up, proactive, and comprehensive health and social care workforce strategy to increase education places and training opportunities. We also are committed to support doctors and nurses with support staff to maximise patient care.
“To provide a good service, we need to provide a good service to work in.
“The funding from budget 2023 has not yet been allocated for eating disorders and needs to be allocated urgently so that new teams can be progressed.
“The government has already dropped the ball with its delivery of the new eating disorder service at Mount Carmel Hospital, which was originally due to open in 2021.
“Here we are two years later and we may have to wait until the end of the year before eating disorder services are operational there.
“With the high morbidity rates associated with eating disorders and, as reported by Bodywhys, the number of people presenting for treatment with eating disorders having increased over the last few years it is important that government resources the HSE to meet its targets on time.”