New report from the Royal College of Physicians is 'extremely worrying' says Mental Health Champion

In a new report published by the Royal College of Physicians, it warned that the lack of a functioning government in Northern Ireland is damaging patient care and undermining staff in the health sector.

The Royal College of Physicians’ report included findings from a survey of 186 higher specialty trainees in Northern Ireland, which found that 41% almost never felt valued by their trust or hospital management. More than half reported working excessive hours, and a similar proportion described daily or weekly trainee rota gaps.

Staffing problems look set to worsen, as the RCP report has noted that more than a third of consultants in Northern Ireland will reach retirement age during the next decade. Meanwhile, only about a quarter of foundation trainees in the region are currently continuing to higher training.

Speaking to The BMJ, Professor Siobhan O’Neill, Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland, said that the Royal College of Physicians' findings were “extremely worrying.” She expressed concern for the mental wellbeing of healthcare staff and highlighted the potential consequences for patient care. “We know that when people are in that distressed state more mistakes happen,” she said. Patients with physical ailments could find their mental health suffering as a result of delays and frustrations in the health system, she added.

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