Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has received information that 27 children spent a total of 87 days in adult psychiatric facilities in 2021.
This is despite there being free CAMHS bed capacity at the time of their admissions.
Teachta Ward said:
“Information I have received in relation to children being admitted to adult psychiatric facilities in 2021 is extremely worrying.
“I received information that 27 children spent a total 87 days in adult psychiatric facilities in 2021. This is despite there being free CAMHS bed capacity at the same time as their admission.
“The HSE disclosed to me that the reason vulnerable children were placed in adult facilities was because some areas do not offer an emergency out-of-hours service.
“These areas include Kerry, Cork, Tipperary, Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford, Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath.
“It is scandalous that 11 out of 26 counties in this state do not offer an emergency out-of-hours service for children suffering from mental distress.
“This is yet another abject failure on the provision of children’s mental health care.
“The HSE states that they would minimize the number of children admitted into adult facilities for the shortest time possible, yet 27 children spent, on average, over three days in adult facilities.
“One child spent 13 days in an adult facility and two children spent a week.
“A child who was admitted in December 2021 spent 13 days in an adult facility.
“The HSE cited one of the reasons as ‘no beds in CAMHS unit’.
“The child was from CHO area 9. Information I have been shown states that there were six vacant beds in St Vincent’s, which covers CHO 9, at the time of the child’s admission.
“So why was this child kept for 13 days in an adult facility when there were vacant beds in an acute children’s mental health facility?
“Even if the child was deemed to be at immediate and serious risk, was this for the whole 13 days of admission?
“One of the children spent seven days in an adult facility in February 2022. The only reason given by the HSE was that there were no beds in CAMHS units. Yet the information I received stated that there were five beds vacant in their catchment area in CHO 9 time of admission.
“The admission of children to adult inpatient facilities is a symptom of a systemic failure on the part of the state.”