It is time that the Government stopped wringing their hands about dysfunction within the health service and actually did something about it
A damning report by the Mental Health Commission has revealed that the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) is failing children across the country, according to Social Democrats Health spokesperson Róisín Shortall.
“Last year, a shocking report into South Kerry CAMHS revealed that hundreds of children had received risky care, with scores suffering “significant harm”. Today, we learn that the dysfunction laid bare in South Kerry last year is replicated across the country.
“In fact, Inspector of Mental Health Services, Dr Susan Finnerty, was so disturbed by her review of CAMHS that she published an interim report to highlight serious failings in the service.
“Those concerns extend to 140 children “lost” in the Midwest CAMHS; children not receiving follow up appointments for up to two years, despite children being on medication; chronic understaffing of CAMHS teams; an increasing reliance on telepsychiatry; and children reaching the age of 18 without being transitioned to adult services.
“Families spoke about their children deteriorating while on waiting lists and being forced to try to seek help from the private healthcare system. One family had to pay €90 a week to see a private occupational therapist while driving a round trip of three hours to do so.
“It is time that the Government stopped wringing their hands about dysfunction within the health service and actually did something about it. The children who are being failed by CAMHS will not get their childhoods back. It is a national scandal that some children have been seriously harmed by CAMHS, rather than helped.
“It is notable that some of the issues highlighted in this scathing report could be addressed if the Sláintecare plan was implemented – particularly, the implementation of Regional Health Areas. The report notes that Community Health Organisations (CHOs) are unable to plan for the services they need locally because HSE budgets are centralised. Recruitment is also centralised, meaning local services have huge difficulty in hiring the staff they need at the time they need them.
“Minister Donnelly must now come to the Dáil and answer questions about this latest damning report into CAMHS – and tell us what he intends to do about it. This is an interim report, but the response from Government must be immediate.”
January 23, 2023