November 2015
News from Zone 7, Northern Europe

The 31st Nordic Congress of Psychiatry was held in Copenhagen from 20th to 23rd of September 2015. The theme of the congress was “Psychiatry Works”. Since 2012 The Joint Committee of The Nordic Psychiatric Associations has published a journal for clinician, ‘The Nordic Psychiatrist’ in addition to the scientific journal Nordic Journal of Psychiatry. The new journal has been well received. Main concerns differ among countries in WPA Zone 7.

Large reforms in health care funding and organization of services are underway in Finland. The deliverables of this venture remain to be seen. Specialist training will no longer be carried out under the auspices of the education ministry but moved to the social ministry. It has been planned that after 2022 each MD should apply for specialist training. The leading principle behind this has been concern over lack of physicians in certain specialties. In Sweden there has been concern of young women with self-harm in forensic care together with sentenced forensic patients. The annual congress has been a success both financially and from the view of participants. A congress will be arranged next autumn on diabetes by the national association and researchers.

In Iceland treatment of ADHD has been discussed widely and critically. There have been indications of abuse of stimulants used for treatment in ADHD. Luckily mental health problems have not been shown to increase as an effect of the major financial crisis in Iceland. The Norwegian Association had its annual meeting with more than 500 participants in Bergen including mandatory courses for young psychiatrists. There will be several conferences in the near future among others on the rights of committed patients.

As for Denmark, a governmental action plan for psychiatry – challenges and demands, capacity assessment, has been devised. Use of physical restraints should be reduced by 50%. There is a pressure on the psychiatric beds and an increasing demand from persons with non-psychotic disorders to receive outpatient care. Guarantee of assessment of needs for care that had previously been up to 2 months and in a year will be reduced to 1 month. According to the treatment guarantee interventions have to be started within 2 months. These initiatives have been launched.

DSM-5 will be translated in Lithuania shortly. There is only one psychiatric hospital left for 2,9 million inhabitants. A working group for development of mobile crisis teams has been set up. Young psychiatrists amount to 18 % of all psychiatrists in the country. Latvia has one of the lowest health care budgets in EU. There is a brain drain of psychiatrists to other countries in the EU. New editions of national guidelines have been drafted. In Estonia work disability has been debated. Psychiatric patients have not received enough support for returning to work. Fewer physicians have applied for psychiatric residency and several positions have remained vacant.

Prof Jyrki Korkeila

WPA Zone 7 Representative




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