Consultant psychiatrists have huge role to play in improving patient experience, says Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said a Budget needs to be agreed by the Executive to deal with the post-pandemic mental health crisis.

The South Belfast MLA was speaking after the Royal College of Psychiatrists called for a multi-year budget to help fill a ‘significant’ number of local vacant consultant psychiatrist posts. The organisation said further funding for mental health services should take place.

“Without the three-year Budget, the Department of Health has no access to increased spending and cannot adequately plan for the transformation of our health service,” said Ms Bradshaw.

“If mental health issues go untreated, they get worse, resulting in associated physical deterioration and increased pressure on our emergency departments. Consultant psychiatrists have a huge role to play in improving patient experience, whilst helping to move the service toward preventative care.

“The pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental health of our population, and this was already in the context of the huge unresolved problems that are a legacy of conflict. We cannot adequately serve patients when there are these huge gaps, and addressing issues around workforce planning and working conditions is key to transformation. None of this can happen without a Budget.”