Emergency Departments not the place for mental health care for children– Smyth

Niamh Smyth Illegal Dumping MayFianna Fáil TD Niamh Smyth has said that the State’s failure to adequately provide out of hours service for Child and Adolescent Mental Service is disgraceful.

Deputy Smyth was commenting after it emerged that there are 239 children and young adults in the CHO1 area which includes Cavan and Monaghan are waiting for the HSE to provide them with an appointment, including a disgraceful 17 who are waiting longer than 12 months.

“Waiting times and lists are getting longer and there are major service gaps in certain parts of the country. I’ve been informed yet again by the HSE that on call services to acute units are in place in most parts of the country. The reality is that people in need are having to go through their local ED Department to acquire the adequate supports out of hours and this is simply not acceptable.

“Telling GPs to refer children and young adults to Emergency Departments is wholly inappropriate. In all too many EDs, there is no access to CAMHS professionals, and it is not fair on the patients and their families.

Deputy Smyth says, “I’ve been informed by the HSE that ther are 69 multidisciplinary CAMHS Teams nationally and they are available Monday to Friday within normal business hours. What I am hearing from families in Cavan Monaghan is their heartbreaking stories, many of which have occurred at weekends and not within business hours. They have  again highlighted to me that the ED Department in Cavan is not suitable for these cases. There needs to be an on call dedicated service outside of our ED Departments.”
“For the past two years, we have consistently heard from the HSE that they are having trouble in terms of recruiting and retaining mental health professionals.

“The net result of all these ever lengthening waiting lists is children and young adults who are at risk being denied access to professional medical advice. This is simply not acceptable at a time when everyone is talking, quite rightly, about the need for all people to talk openly and honestly about their mental health.

“Minister Daly must get to the root of the problem, and if necessary secure private sector support to reduce these lists and waiting times. If the Government doesn’t, it will go down as one of the worst failings in our country’s history,” concluded Smyth.

Please find my Parliamentary Question on this matter.PQ 33976 18 the number of CAMHs hours of service available by county