The Irish Psychiatric Association conducted a national survey of psychiatric services in Ireland to examine clinical resources in relation to the relative affluence of catchment areas. A consultant psychiatrist from each catchment area was sent a postal survey form (August 2002) and the data received were cross-referenced with measures of relative affluence.
There was a 72% response rate. A negative relationship emerged between indices of need and both the number of acute beds and the number of consultant psychiatrists per head of the population.
The results of this survey indicate that clinical resources in mental health in Ireland are not concentrated in areas of greatest need, but paradoxically have been best developed in areas of greatest affluence.