- Hans Weber
- December 4, 2023
Czech Government and Medical Community Address Shortage of Child Psychiatrists
The Czech government and the medical community are taking steps to address the critical shortage of child psychiatrists in the country. To accommodate the increasing number of cases of mentally ill children, the General University Hospital (VFN) in Prague will establish a specialized ward for child psychiatric care and expand its daycare facility. This announcement was made by the Minister of Health, Vlastimil Válek (TOP 09), and David Feltl, the director of VFN.
The hospital plans to invest 140 million Czech crowns in expanding child psychiatric care. The reconstruction of outdated spaces in the psychiatric clinic will be carried out in stages, with around 90 million crowns allocated for outpatient care facilities that meet modern requirements and emphasize privacy. An additional 50 million crowns will be used to construct the new ward. A specific timeline for the completion of the reconstruction was not disclosed.
Minister Válek emphasized the overlooked need for child psychiatrists, stating that the construction of children’s beds is essential. He pledged support for child psychiatry and adult psychiatry in the coming year, emphasizing the importance of widespread accessibility, particularly for adolescent psychiatry, as the number of adolescents in need of psychiatric care is on the rise.
This sentiment was echoed by Martin Anders, the head of the psychiatric clinic at the hospital, who attributed the increasing demand for psychiatric care among adolescents to factors such as social media, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the stress related to the conflict in Ukraine.
The hospital had previously closed its ward for mentally ill children due to lack of interest but now recognizes the urgent need to revive it.
The hospital currently operates a daily care facility for child and adolescent patients aged 14 to 18 who suffer from conditions such as depression, anxiety, phobias, or eating disorders. However, it is not suitable for patients with suicidal tendencies or substance addiction. For these cases, the hospital operates a detoxification center, which has seen a significant increase in admissions. This year, 125 children and adolescents have been treated at the center, up from 212 last year. Most commonly, these patients are dependent on methamphetamine and marijuana.
The detoxification center faces challenges due to inadequate facilities and capacity issues, as it shares a building with the women’s psychiatric ward. This highlights the pressing need for investment and expansion of psychiatric services for children and adolescents in the Czech Republic.
Article by Prague Forum