Sinn Fein spokesperson for Mental Health Mark Ward TD has said a letter sent to the HSE by the Children’s Ombudsman warning of major failures in upholding the rights of children to access healthcare deserves an urgent and credible response.
The Dublin Mid-West TD said:
“The letter that the Children’s Ombudsman Niall Muldoon sent to the HSE is yet another damning indictment on how health services are provided to some of the most vulnerable children in the state.
“We have got to the stage where successive Governments have not provided the appropriate and timely health care to our children.
“We have a situation where there are over 4,500 children waiting on a first-time appointment with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).
“When this Government was formed in 2020 there was just over 2,000 children on the waiting list for CAMHS. This equates to a staggering 109% increase under this Government’s watch.
“The Ombudsman rightly points out that there were too many children waiting beyond six months for an initial appointment. In fact, information I received states that we now have over 700 children waiting over a year for this initial appointment.
“CAMHS is only for a small percentage of the children’s population, for those with moderate to acute mental health problems. However, if children do not get the early intervention, they need they are going to need the more acute services.
“The Government have allowed a situation to develop that has led to over 19,000 children waiting on an appointment for primary care psychology with over 6,000 of these children waiting over a year.
“Information I received in response to a Parliamentary Question stated that Mental Health National Clinical Programmes did not receive any funding for new posts to expand clinical programme services in 2023.
“There is no urgency, ability or understanding by this Government to fix the problems they created in children’s mental health care.
“Sinn Fein have proposed several solutions which the Government have ignored.
“Now you have the Children’s Ombudsman joining the calls from parents and opposition parties about the dereliction of duty to Children by the State. This letter is shocking and deserves an urgent, credible and serious response outlining how these unsustainable situation will be resolved.“The longer Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are in government the more damage they will do. It’s time for them to go.”