Side effects of psychoactive drugs means short lifespans for patients, conference told
People with long term mental illness have shorter lifespans because of the side effects of the psychoactive drugs they are prescribed, a doctors' conference was told today.
Dublin psychiatrist Dr Siobhán Barry said while suicide also contributes to premature deaths,these patients are also suffering heart and metabolic complications linked to the drugs.
However, she said there is a huge shortage of monitoring of theses complications when patients are attending outpatient clinics for their psychiatric illness.
"Prescribing these drugs which can have serious side effects without monitoring facilities," she told the annual meeting of the Irish Medical Organisation.
Fellow doctors supported her motion to ask the Mental Health Commission to audit the adequacy of facilities for the physical monitoring of patients.
She also warned about the ad hoc treatment services currently available to people who are addicted to both alcohol and tranquillisers.
Currently only around 10 to 20pc people addicted to tranquillisers are getting effective treatment, she added.
Meanwhile, doctors are expressed serious concerns about the 500pc hike in recent years in the prescription charge for medical card holders.
Doctors said the rise in the charge from 50c to €2.50 per item had led to some patients cutting back on drugs with potentially serious consequences.
GPs attending the conference will vent their fury at proposals to introduce free visits for all children under-six, a move which will lead to an "intolerable workload".
The union will also hear calls to set up a committee to oversee an independent review of the financial management of the IMO going back nearly two decades.
Dr Cathal O Sullivan and Dr Garret McGovern want an outside body to investigate the finances in the wake of last years pay and pension package of almost €10 given to its former chief executive George McNeice.
Under new rules to be debated at the conference it is planned to publish the salary of the chief executive annually.