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HSE apologises for letter to GPs stating mental health services in areas of Dublin were suspended

The HSE has apologised for a letter that was sent to GPs telling them mental health services in parts of North Dublin were being suspended.

The letter, which was posted to Twitter yesterday, said: "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 in the year".

However, in a statement since, the HSE says it "does not represent the factual position" and it would be contacting doctors in the area next week to clarify.

Labour senator Aodhán Ó Riordáin says more questions need to be answered.

"We really need to get some clarity as to why the letter was sent in the first place," said Mr Ó Riordáin.

Why does it makes sense that if there is an increased demand the service would stop?

"What type of strains there are on the mental health service if this type of communication was issued in the first place?"

Yesterday, local councillor Michael O'Brien said that if the letter was 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.

"Whatever the authenticity of this letter this will not change under the Fine Gael government which is content to pay lip service to mental health services."