January 24, 2023
Families failed by CAMHS scandal want answers from Dáil debate – Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has said that children and families failed by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) want to hear answers and accountability when the damning report by the Mental Health Commission is debated in the Dáil this Thursday.

Teachta Ward wrote to the Ceann Comhairle yesterday requesting time on the Dáil schedule this week because of the seriousness of the report.

Teachta Ward said:

“There are lifelong effects for those failed by the scandal in CAMHS. 

“Children affected and their families want to know where does the buck stop and who is ultimately accountable and responsible for this crisis?

“So I welcome the fact that the Dáil will debate the Mental Health Commission report into CAMHS – I wrote to the Ceann Comhairle first thing yesterday requesting that time be made for such a debate.

“This week’s report has shown that CAMHS is beyond crisis point and, worryingly, there is a huge disconnect between Ministers Donnelly and Butler, their Department, and the HSE.

“The aftermath of the Maskey Report into South Kerry CAMHS last year saw most of the blame for the serious harm to CAMHS patients attributed to a junior doctor.

“Nobody in a senior role in the HSE or the Department of Health was held accountable, despite huge governance issues highlighted in the report. 

“That cannot happen again. Children and their families demand answers, and demand accountability so that these failures, and the consequences of them, are never repeated.

“We had a situation last year where Minister Butler agreed with a Sinn Féin call to reinstate a National Director for Mental Health only for this appointment to be blocked by the HSE.

“The position of a National Director for Mental Health was in place until 2016 when the HSE discontinued the role. It is vital that this role is reinstated so we can have accountability in the HSE and that the National Director reports directly to the Minister.

“I raised some of the issues in this report with Minister Butler last month when I became aware that concerns had been escalated by the Mental Health Commission to the HSE.

“I said that it was very worrying that the HSE did not inform Minister Butler the nature of these concerns.

“Children and their families want to know who is in charge of Mental Health, a democratically elected Minister or the HSE?

“It is vital that the Minister answers questions and provides accountability on the key concerns in this latest report on child safety, lack of governance and failures to manage risks.

“We need a clear strategy to tackle this crisis and major reforms in children’s mental health services as what has been done so far is clearly not working.”

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