Sinn Féin spokesperson for Mental Health, Mark Ward TD has called on the Government to support Sinn Féin legislation to regulate the Childrens and Adolescents Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
Deputy Ward was speaking after the publication of reports for CAMHS in each CHO area by the Mental Health Commission earlier today.
Teachta Ward said:
“The latest report by the Mental Health Commission into CAMHS is yet again another damning indictment of how mental health services are provided to our children.
“Mental Health care should be based on need and not where a child lives but that is exactly what these reports highlight. A postcode lottery of care has developed under this Government.
“The Mental Health Commission has made 49 recommendations that the Government must accept and implement to reform CAMHS and improve care to children.
“We have had no commitment or direction from Government if they will implement these recommendations.
“Our young people and their families cannot wait, which is why I have introduced legislation to the Bills Office that would give statutory powers to the Mental Health Commission to oversee their recommendations implemented.
“Whilst the Mental Health Commission can make recommendations on governance and clinical reforms in CAMHS they do not have the statutory authority to ensure that these recommendations will be implemented.
“That is what this legislation will do. I am calling on the Government to support this legislation as empowering the Mental Health Commission with the powers to improve CAMHS is the right thing to do.
“The report highlighted a large unacceptable variation of the numbers of young people waiting and the lengths of time.
“Common challenges discovered by the mental health commission included governance, budgets, risk management, digital infrastructure, clinical governance, staffing, access, transition to adult services, vulnerable children, integration and adherence to guidelines.
“In CHO 2, 6,8 and 9 the report found strengths, quality initiatives, a lot of challenges but no significant areas of the concern that warranted national escalation.
“However, in CHO 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 the report also found concerns and risks around quality and safety to the degree that the Mental Health Commission had to escalate to a national level to ensure they were addressed
“Due to the seriousness of the concerns raised by the review and number of challenges identified, the Inspector recommended that a comprehensive strategy for CAMHS must be prepared.
“The implementation of the report recommendations must be monitored by the Mental Health Commission and that CAMHS should be immediately and independently regulated by the Mental Health Commission
“Sinn Féin’s legislation will ensure that this will happen.
“We can see huge disparity between waiting across CHO areas which I have been raising since before the Maskey Report into Kerry CAMHS last year.
“Despite Government promises to prioritise CHO4, in which Kerry is based the area still has the highest waiting lists nationally and with staffing issues remaining a problem.
“One team in CHO1 had no occupational therapist, no psychologist and at the time of the review, no social worker. This is not acceptable.
“In CHO 9 you had children with suicidal ideation waiting up to 200 days for an appointment. This is totally unacceptable.
“There is lack of a seamless transition for young people from CAMHS to Adults Mental Health Services (AMHS).
“This is an issue right across the state. Sinn Féin have a policy to extend CAMHS to the age of 25 and to ensure a seamless transition so that young people do not fall through the cracks and that there is a continuum of care in their mental health.
“Specialist services and staff were not available in many locations outside of Dublin and Cork, namely access to CAMHS liaison staff, Eating Disorder Services, CAMHS Intellectual Disability Services.
“Sinn Féin are taking these reports seriously and are proposing solutions to address them. The longer the Government are in office the worse the problems become. It’s time for change.”