Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has called for national standards to be developed for monitoring antipsychotic medication in children.
Deputy Ward was speaking following the latest reports by the Mental Health Commission into CAMHS.
Medication monitoring varied between different areas with many young people going without regular reviews.
Teachta Ward said:
“The Mental Health Commission has published detailed reports into CAMHS in each CHO area. The results of which are another damning indictment on this government’s approach to youth mental health.
“Of particular note is the lack of uniformity across CHOs for the monitoring of antipsychotic medication.
“At present there are no national standards for the monitoring of antipsychotic medication in children and CAMHS staff follow the NICE guidelines as set out in Britain.
“These are not being universally adhered to across the state and action is required now for the safety and well-being of our young people.
“The reports took samples cases from each CHO and focused on the monitoring of certain markers for children prescribed antipsychotic medications.
“Height, weight, blood pressure, side effects, efficacy amongst other markers are to be regularly monitored.
“I was alarmed at how many young people went without the regular monitoring.
“In CHO7 for example, less than 50% of those on antipsychotic medication had the appropriate monitoring.
“Almost 60% of young people on antipsychotic medication in CHO4 did not have their pulse and blood pressure checked at review appointments. This is following the Maskey report which highlighted the dangers over children being overprescribed medication
“It is clear that the standards that are being used for monitoring of medication are not being followed correctly and this creates risks to the health and well-being of our young people.
“In January, Sinn Féin brought a motion before the Dáil to improve CAMHS following the publishing of the Mental Health Commission’s interim report and one of the calls within the motion was to develop a national standard for the monitoring of antipsychotic medication.
“I am once again calling for this to be introduced with urgency so that CAMHS staff can follow guidelines and so our young people can be safe.
“It is seven months since that motion passed through the Dáil. The Government cannot sit by any longer and must act now to develop national standards for antipsychotic medication monitoring.
“Our young people cannot wait any longer.”