North County Leader

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Local CAMHS Teams Severely Understaffed

Special Needs AssistantSpecial Needs Assistant

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson and local TD Louise O’Reilly has said that it is a disgrace that child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in Fingal are operating with just 66.5 per cent of staff needed.

Deputy O’Reilly said: “It is incredibly worrying that CAMHS teams in the county and other areas of CHO Area 9 in north Dublin are operating with just 66.5 per cent of the staff they need under a ‘A Vision for Change’, the strategy document which sets out the direction for Mental Health Services in Ireland.

“In recent months there has been a lot of talk about addressing shortfalls regarding CAMHS teams, especially after the Seanad Public Consultation Committee Report on Children’s Mental Health Services found that the increase in mental health problems and in child population had not been matched by an increase in services.

“Therefore, it was shocking to learn that by December 2017 the HSE responded to a PQ I submitted stating that national staffing levels for CAMHS teams are at just 56.1 per cent of the total staff needed.

“Only a number of days ago the Children’s Rights Alliance revealed that nearly 7,000 children under the age of 17 were waiting for a community-based psychology appointment at the end of last July — with one third of those waiting for more than a year.

“It is impossible for these children to get the help they need when “A Vision for Change” recommends that youth mental health services be fully staffed at 1,047 people, yet as of December CAMHS teams had just 587 doctors and nurses.

“Every week I have parents in my advice clinics in the North County desperately pleading for help for their children. I do all I can, I make representations, I challenge the Minister in the Dáil, I challenge the HSE, I speak to the media, but I only see limited change from the Government – it is not good enough.

“Anyone who has worked as a TD will tell you that seeing children with mental health problems not get the medical help they need, despite doing all you can to help, is one of the hardest parts of this job.”