Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, raised concerns with the Minister for Mental Health, Mary Butler TD, in the Dáil today on the lack of clarity regarding the review into CAMHS by the Mental Health Commission.
Concerns were escalated to the HSE, which the Minister has not been made aware of.
Teachta Ward said:
“It is incredible that the Minister is kept in the dark over this review into CAMHS by the Mental Health Commission.
“I received a response from a parliamentary question that stated that concerns raised within CAMHS were escalated to the HSE but today Minister Butler said that she has not been told what these concerns were.
“The response that the HSE is addressing these concerns does not wash when the concerns themselves are not known by the Minister.
“The Mental Health Commission rightly escalated these concerns to the HSE, but it is extremely worrying that the Minister responsible for Mental Health is not given that information.
“Why is the Minister not involved in the process and why is she being kept in the dark?
“Before these additional concerns were escalated, there were red flags all over CAMHS.
“Linn Dara was meant to reopen back in September – it is now December and that still has not happened. Inpatient capacity is lower now than when this government came into place.
“There are 4000 children waiting on appointment with CAMHS, a 32% increase on the figures I received in 2021.
“We also have thousands of more children, who despite being referred into CAMHS by a medical practitioner, have been deemed ineligible for referral – I hope they are included in this review.
“There is still no consultant psychiatrist hired in Kerry where children are getting consultations from a doctor in the United Arab Emirates.
“Children are still facing a cliff-edge at 18 – they are going into adult mental health services, despite Sharing the Vision saying it should be extended to 25 years old.
“I have been calling for the reinstatement of the National Director for Mental Health since I became the Sinn Féin Mental Health spokesperson. This person should be directly answerable to the Minister and these issues that I raised could be addressed at government level.
“We desperately need better oversight into mental health services. The buck stops with the Minister, this must be a priority for her.”