In yet another health issue affecting the county a large number of patients who use the Meath Mental Health Service have had their appointments cancelled due to the HSE failing to get a locum to replace a psychiatrist who is absent due to long-term illness.

And in a perfect storm of problems the second psychiatrist who works there was out ill over the last week.

One source told Meath Live, ‘Even if a locum is found it is a far from ideal situation, for example if a patient requires a change of medication the locum is 0ften reluctant to facilitate that as they were the not the person who prescribed the original medication.’

A HSE spokesman said, ‘One of the two consultant psychiatrists in Navan is on long-term sick leave and all efforts to date to secure a locum consultant psychiatrist to cover the vacant post have been unsuccessful.

‘As a result, it was, unfortunately, necessary to cancel a number of outpatient clinics in May and June, resulting in a total of 60 patient appointments being cancelled. 

‘We are currently reviewing all options to address this situation as quickly as possible. However, it should be noted that recruitment in the health sector in general, and mental health in particular, is very challenging locally, nationally and internationally at the moment.

‘The other Consultant Psychiatrist in the Navan area is off sick this week resulting in 13 cancelled appointments. However, emergency arrangements were put in place and patients who required prescriptions were facilitated with new prescriptions.

‘Meath Mental Health Services regrets the inconvenience the current situation is causing for service users which is due to circumstances beyond its immediate control.’