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Psychiatrist vacancies 'double in four years' in England

From BBC - November 4, 2017

One in 10 consultant psychiatrist roles is currently unfilled in NHS organisations in England, says a report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

It says the number of unfilled posts has doubled in the past four years.

Wales is also struggling to fill posts, with vacancies of 9%, while Scotland and Northern Ireland have vacancy rates of 6% and 2% respectively.

The college called the vacancies "frankly alarming" and said they increased waiting times for patients.

Prof Wendy Burn, from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said the current situation meant patients might be waiting months to see a psychiatrist, during which time they could be getting worse.

She said it was "a scandal" because if you had cancer you would expect to see a cancer specialist.

"Patients wo not get the care they need. Some will have been plucking up the courage to go to their GP, and then there is no-one to see them when they are referred," she said.

Attracting students

Prof Burn said the rise in vacancies was down to the difficulty in recruiting psychiatrists.

At the same time, more posts were being created for consultant psychiatrists as mental illness moved up the health agenda, but there were no specialists to fill them, she said.

She said medical schools need to broaden their pool of applicants in order to get more psychiatrists into the workplace.

'Deeply worrying'

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