(ANSA) – ROME, DECEMBER 14 – The “worrying increase in neurological and psychiatric disorders in childhood” continues. But, in the face of this, “in the next two-three years, the shortage of child neuropsychiatrists will be dramatic”. To stem it “we need at least 400 new scholarships a year to train specialists” necessary to support the growing need for assistance and the reduction of doctors due to retirement. The alarm was sounded by the Society of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry (Sinpia) on the occasion of the first National Conference of Child Neuropsychiatry Residents, scheduled in Brescia on 16-17 December.
“The protection of the neuropsychic development and mental health of the new generations is an absolute priority, now made dramatic by the consequences of the pandemic”, explains Elisa Fazzi, president of Sinpia and director of the Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry Unit ASST Spedali Civili e Università of Brescia. The increase in annual specialization contracts in child neuropsychiatry has gone from 99 places in 2018 to the current 283, but “they are still not enough. We ask – he continues – that university programming does not leave this discipline without resources”, which deals with many conditions, from autism to attention and learning disorders, from epilepsy and infantile cerebral palsy to depression, psychosis and addictions in minors. “In the next two-three years, the shortage of child neuropsychiatrists”, Fazzi denounces, “will be dramatic and it will not be possible to fill the vacancies. Services and facilities for minors, already seriously undersized, will be unable to provide the necessary assistance”.
However, there is also a shortage of beds in pediatric neuropsychiatry: “to date only 395 compared to a requirement of at least 700”, explains Antonella Costantino, director of the Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry Unit of the Irccs Ca Foundation ‘ Granda of the Polyclinic of Milan. “And even more – he concludes – are the critical issues in local services that urgently need to be strengthened”. (HANDLE).