Top doctor: Lack of housing makes it difficult to hire medical staff

Top doctor: Lack of housing makes it difficult to hire medical staff
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THE executive clinical director for mental health services in Cork has admitted that housing and accommodation struggles in the region have made it difficult to hire people in the area.

Dr Sinead O’Brien said it is important to make Cork as attractive as possible to prospective candidates.

She admitted that the lack of housing can be an issue in some cases and that some people have been forced to stay in B&Bs or student accommodation before finding more permanent solutions.

“In terms of people coming from overseas, housing certainly is an issue,” said Dr O’Brien.

“We have an advantage in the fact that rent isn't quite as expensive as Dublin.

“But certainly it has been difficult,” she added.

“What has been useful is the fact that people who have come over and navigated the system are very good support and peers for other people coming over.

“But there is no doubt about it, accommodation can be an issue.” Dr O’Brien admitted it can be stressful for people moving from overseas in particular.

She said, however, that mental health services in Cork usually hire people in July, which can help as student accommodation is temporarily available.

Sinead Glennon, head of Mental Health Services, CKCH, Dr Karen O’Connor, consultant psychiatrist, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare (CKCH), Dr Sinead O’Brien, Executive Clinical Director, Mental Health Service CKCH and Professor Jo Smith, Professor of Intervention Psychosis, University of Worcester pictured at a learning event about early intervention for psychosis at Nemo Rangers. Mental health staff in Cork Kerry Community Healthcare are rolling out a pioneering service to address first episodes of psychosis in parts of Cork city and county.
Sinead Glennon, head of Mental Health Services, CKCH, Dr Karen O’Connor, consultant psychiatrist, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare (CKCH), Dr Sinead O’Brien, Executive Clinical Director, Mental Health Service CKCH and Professor Jo Smith, Professor of Intervention Psychosis, University of Worcester pictured at a learning event about early intervention for psychosis at Nemo Rangers. Mental health staff in Cork Kerry Community Healthcare are rolling out a pioneering service to address first episodes of psychosis in parts of Cork city and county.

“It can be stressful - people are sometimes coming over and staying in B&Bs.

“That’s fine for a short time but it does get stressful,” added Dr O’Brien.

“Accommodation is an issue for junior doctors and all staff as well.

“It can be easier when people come in July because student accommodation is available which allows people a month or two to find more permanent solutions,” she said.

“It can act as a stopgap.

“If someone is moving to Cork in January to start a job, it can be a little bit harder.

“We had a consultant who came from Switzerland recently who used an agency which cost her €600.

“They found the accommodation for her and her family before they arrived.

“They even got the process for getting her kids into the local school started,” she added.

“You could easily spend that much coming over and back to view places.” Despite the difficulties, Dr O’Brien and her team have been able to fill three vacancies in the past year and are currently working with a full complement of consultants.

“Three consultants were brought in who are all specialists on the specialist register and who are all internationally acclaimed.

“That’s something we’re very proud of,” she added.

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