The results of a survey of psychiatric services in Ireland, conducted by the Irish Psychiatric Association (IPA), indiacte that clinical resources in mental health are over-stretched. They are not concentrated in areas of greatest need but paradoxically have been best developed in areas of greatest affluence. The absence of an up-to-date national mental health strategy for service development is one of the main causes of current inequities in clinical resource distribution. Lack of a national strategy has also led to a situation where there is very limited availability of specialist services. There is an urgent need for forward planning of mental health services in Ireland to avoid ad hoc and inequitable clinical resource distribution.
We call for the establishment of a National Lead Service for Psychiatry.