mental health delays

HSE Mental Health Referral Delays in Dublin

The HSE has sent a letter to GPs saying community health service referrals for mental health patients were to be suspended until later in the year.

“I regret to inform you that due to the high referral numbers the service for primary care mental health has been suspended in Raheny, Donaghmede  Edenmore and Kilbarrack until later this year.”

The HSE Community Health Organisation (CHO) has apologised for the incorrect information in the letter and stated that Kilbarrack is not affected. A spokeswoman explained:

“This letter related to a service provided by a Clinical Nurse Specialist, Primary Care (funded by Dublin North Mental Health Service).

“Her role is to assess, triage and accept appropriate referrals of patients presenting at GP (Primary Care) with mild-moderate depression.

“This service is an Early Intervention service for patients and can lead to prevention in requiring Specialist Secondary Mental Health Service or referrals to the Community Mental Health Team.

“Any member of the public or GP who received this letter will be contacted during Monday and Tuesday of next week to ensure that they are provided with correct information and an appropriate referral pathway.”

Cllr Michael O’Brien of Solidarity called on the HSE to clarify the facts, saying:

“If it is authentic then it is an absolute scandal but unfortunately will not come as a great surprise to people in the area as the lived experience in Dublin 5 and I suspect elsewhere is that timely mental health assistance for people in distress is more the exception than the rule.

He added:

“Mental health remains a poor relation within the overall delivery of public health services in this state.”

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With the prospect of a long wait for GP referred care, patients struggling with mental health conditions may choose to consider private treatment instead. 

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