A MENTAL health charity in the North-East has expressed concern after a study revealed inequalities in psychiatric care.

A study by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) found there are 11 psychiatrists to every 100,000 residents in the North-East and just five in Yorkshire and the Humber – sparking fears over the number of those entering the profession.

The findings show inequalities across the UK as in north, central and east London there are 13 consultants per 100,000 people.

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Neil Kelly, chairman of Mental Health North East, said: “This proves once again that the amount of care devoted to the North-East is at critical levels.

“There are already long waiting times and in the meantime people are suffering. We have high suicide rates and patients with long-term mental health issues to care for.

“The region is short funded so it is about time that something is done. I hope these figures spark change.”

Although the government has pledged to employ 570 extra consultant psychiatrists by 2020/21, the study states the number of medical students taking up the profession has “all but flatlined”.

Over the five years since March 2012, the number of consultants across the NHS in England increased by 20.2 per cent, compared to just 1.7 per cent in psychiatric consultants.

Professor Wendy Burn, president of the RCP, said: “People with a severe mental illness should expect to see a specialist consultant, just as you would for a severe physical illness.

“The huge variation in consultant psychiatrists across the country means reality is increasingly falling short of our expectations.”

Following the results, the RCP is launching its Choose Psychiatry campaign in the hope of encouraging students to enter this line of work.