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14 Aug 2022

Louth TD calls for action on waiting lists for access to mental health services

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

Louth TD calls for action on waiting lists for access to mental health services

Louth TD calls for action on waiting lists for access to mental health services

Louth Sinn Féin TD, Ruairí Ó Murchú, has criticised the waiting time for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and says he will be seeking proposals on how to reduce these numbers when he meets with CHO8, the community healthcare organisation that covers Louth.

In response to a parliamentary question submitted by Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne, figures from the HSE revealed the numbers of young people in the State waiting for access to critical mental health services, have not dropped below 2,300 over the past five-year period.

In CHO8, there are 396 young people waiting for CAMHS appointments, an increase of 50% since 2016.

CAMHS provide specialist mental health service to those aged up to 18 years, who have reached the threshold for a diagnosis of moderate to severe mental health disorder that require the input of a multi-disciplinary mental health teams.

Community CAMHS refers to child and adolescent mental health services that are delivered in outpatient and day hospital settings, with the majority of CAMHS interventions being delivered in the community, close to people’s homes.

Deputy Ó Murchú said on the wait times: “Waiting lists to access community health care in this State have gone from bad to worse. Quite often, the Government use Covid-19 as a smokescreen for the inefficiency of many services offered by the HSE.

“In the latest figures, it has been revealed that the number of children waiting for preliminary CAMHS appointments hasn’t dropped below 2,300 over the last five years. 

“At the end of 2017 there were 2,513 children and teens waiting; by Q3 of 2021 this figure had risen to 2,948.

“The objectives set out in ‘A Vision for Change’, the national mental health strategy published last year, will not be implemented unless the Government put their money where their mouth is and invest significantly in CAMHS services. 

“The numbers of children waiting for access to CAMHS services being so consistently high and exposes that whatever additional funding or resources have been allocated to the service simply haven’t worked. Children and teenagers are still unable they access the essential services they need.”

He added: “Sinn Féin’s alternative budget would have provided €114 million for next year with 276 additional psychologists to boost CAMHS over 18 months.

“I will be engaging with CHO8 this week to highlight this issue and seek answers as to what they are proposing to do about these excessively high numbers on the waiting lists.”

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