Figures released by the HSE to Sinn Féin regarding waiting lists for appointments in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS ) are a grave concern.
Sinn Féin TD for Kerry Martin Ferris has said that the waiting lists, coupled with the inadequate levels of staffing across CAMHS are indicative of an area not given sufficient priority.
“The figures released to Sinn Féin shine a light on the critical issue of gaps in mental health services and supports for children and young people, including staff shortages in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services,” said Deputy Ferris.
“Mental health is an area in which successive governments have struggled to provide an adequate level of service. This is an issue that Sinn Féin has been highlighting continuously – in the Dáil, through parliamentary questions and through representations to the HSE. Indeed, in our Better4Health document launched last year, Sinn Féin put forward 10 proposals to ensure mental healthcare was prioritised.
“Access to mental health services for children and young people is clearly severely restricted when we consider the waiting lists that currently exist. A cursory glance at the figures shows that mental healthcare is not being prioritised as it should for this cohort, not least because of the waiting lists that exist but also because of the staffing levels across the community healthcare organisations (CHOs).
High Waiting Lists
“CHO Area 4, which covers Kerry LHO, North Cork LHO, North Lee LHO, South Lee LHO and West Cork CHO, has the highest number on waiting lists across the state. It also has the second highest number in the state waiting for a CAMHS appointment for more than 12 months. Allied to this is the fact that in 2015, the area only had 50.2% of the CAMHS teams staffing as recommended in a vision for change. This is unacceptable. This needs to be addressed urgently.
“The Minister needs to increase staffing and services to ensure these waiting lists are dealt with. The CAMHS teams must be resourced sufficiently and we need to ensure that the additional staff needed are employed,” Deputy Ferris concluded.
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