There aren’t enough psychiatrists to help people with mental illness, experts say


There are “not enough” psychiatrists to help people with mental illness across England, leading doctors have warned.

Labor shortages mean there is only one psychiatrist for every 12,567 people in England, the Royal College of Psychiatrists has said.

The college said one-tenth of the consultant positions – 568 out of 5,367 – were vacant when its 2021 census was released.

The highest job vacancy rates are in drug addiction, eating disorders, and child and adolescent psychiatry, he added.

The College said data on the NHS workforce shows that there are 4,500 full-time consulting psychiatrists for 56.5 million people – or one psychiatrist for 12,567.

High vacancy rates for consulting psychiatrists vary across England – in the North West and East Midlands 15 percent of positions are unfilled compared to a national average of 10.68 percent.

It comes as the NHS faces an unprecedented backlog.

The college said high vacancy rates in psychiatry mean some people are forced to wait longer for care.

He called for a long-term plan to develop the psychiatric workforce and said the government must invest in another 120 basic psychiatry training positions in 2022.

And there should be 7,000 additional places in medical schools on top of the 8,000 existing by 2029, he added.

College President Dr Adrian James said: “The high number of people battling the pandemic, coupled with the historic mental health backlog, has created a perfect storm.

“We are now looking at a record number of people waiting for life-saving treatment, with waiting lists growing every day.

“If the government is serious about addressing the long-term challenges in mental health, it urgently needs to invest significantly in our workforce so that we can ensure that the demand for psychiatric care can at least be met. satisfied in the future. We simply cannot win this fight without enough psychiatrists.

College Recruitment Manager Dr Kate Lovett said: “It is unacceptable that we do not have enough psychiatrists to help people with mental illness during what is perhaps our darkest time in the world. recent history.

“Investing in the workforce goes hand in hand with delivering quality mental health care. ”

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs said: “Early support and treatment is vital. We are delivering the fastest expansion of mental health services in NHS history, supported by an additional £ 2.3 billion a year by 2023-24 so that hundreds of thousands of children and additional adults can access the services.

“We are fully committed to attracting, training and recruiting the workforce of tomorrow. We have provided an additional £ 111million to support the training and education of NHS mental health staff, and have increased the number of places in medical schools by 1,500 in recent years – an increase of 25 % – as well as the opening of five new medical schools across the country. ”

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