Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has said that today’s independent review of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in the state is another damning indictment of government failing children and young people.
The report by Dr Susan Finnerty, published by the Mental Health Commission (MHC), said that the state cannot currently provide assurances to parents or guardians in all parts of Ireland that their children have access to a safe, effective and evidence-based service.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“Today’s CAMHS is another damning indictment of the government failing children and young people.
“It is a national scandal that the state cannot currently provide an assurance to parents or guardians in all parts of the state that their children have access to a safe, effective and evidence-based service.
“While this report is damning, it does not come as a shock. CAMHS waiting lists have more than doubled since this government was formed.
“Government failure to protect vulnerable young people is not new news – it is something that concerned parents have been highlighting for a long time now.
“Waiting lists for CAMHS have increased by 112% since 2020, with 4490 young people waiting on first-time CAMHS appointments and 752 waiting for longer than 12 months.
“These failures mean that early intervention is passing our young people by. That is unacceptable.
“The government must now take control of this situation and deliver the resources and the safe and effective services that our children and young people need.
“The latest report has 49 recommendations that the Ministers for Health and Mental Health must accept and implement to reform CAMHS and improve service delivery.
“These aim to improve overall governance where the report highlighted that there is no standardised service and no national director.
“The report also highlighted insufficient budgeting for CAMHS – it is staggering that there is no ring-fenced funding for services, while care teams are unsustainably under-resourced.
“The vast majority of teams have staffing levels below 50% of what is required, and only one CHO said that they had appropriate staffing levels.
“There is also a cliff-edge in our mental health services for young people at 18. There is inconsistent continuity of care, and many young people fall out of services or never access them.
“Sinn Féin is committed to developing CAMHS to deliver high quality care for children and young people up to the age of 25.
“Sinn Féin in government would take a fresh approach to delivering change in healthcare, including mental health services for young people.
“We would prioritise multiannual workforce planning, capital investment, and accountability reforms to improve access and reduce wait times.”
Sinn Féin’s Priorities for Change in Child and Youth Mental Health document, published last month, can be read here.