May 25, 2023
Clarification needed on Government plans to reduce CAMHS teams – Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has called on the Government to clarify if they plan to reduce the amount of CAMHS teams across the state from 73 to 50.

Teachta Ward raised this in the Dáil today with the Tánaiste, following a response from the CEO of the HSE at yesterday’s Health Committee.

Teachta Ward said:

“At yesterday’s meeting of the Health Committee, Bernard Gloster (CEO of the HSE) stated to me; 

We do have a serious question to ask in relation to whether we continue to maintain over 70 partially staffed CAMHS teams or whether we reduce to 55 or 50 full teams’.

“I first heard inklings of this plan 2 weeks ago and I submitted questions to the Minister, but I have yet to get a response.

“Today I questioned the Minister for Mental Health, Mary Butler TD, in the Dáil if the Government plans to reduce the amount of CAMHS teams.

She responded; ‘So we are exploring different avenues at the moment. We’ve 74 CAMHS teams all over the country. They are not fully staffed. We are looking at maybe should we reduce the numbers down and ask parents to drive a little bit further to make sure that the supports will be in place’.

“I asked a number of other questions which I did not get an answer to.

“Can the Government guarantee this will lead to better mental health outcomes for young people?

“Will this move reduce the waiting lists for CAMHS?

“At present we have a record high of 4,490 young people waiting on first time appointments.

“The Minister conceded today that waiting lists have doubled under her watch

“I also asked if this move reduce waiting times, as currently we have 752 young people waiting over a year for a first-time appointment

“Public confidence in this Government to resolve the crisis in young people’s mental health is at an all-time low.

“Parents and young people are rightly concerned about this.

“We need urgent clarification if there are concrete plans to reduce CAMHS or is this just another desperate attempt at kite-flying by the HSE and the Government.”

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