Statement by the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) on today’s publication of an interim report by the Mental Health Commission into the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
Commenting on the interim report, Vice President of the Irish Hospital Consultant Association (IHCA) and Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist, Prof Anne Doherty says:
“The consequences of failing to have the necessary level of staffing and required frontline supports across our health service have once again been cruelly exposed, this time by the Mental Health Commission who deemed the risk to patients within the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service so serious that a decision was made to publish an interim report while vital investigations are still ongoing.
“The failings identified in the interim report unfortunately come as little surprise to Consultants working in frontline Mental Health Services on a daily basis and who have been desperately highlighting the need for more specialists and greater capacity across the board for years.
“The HSE’s own data shows that our services are missing at least a third (29%) of the required Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Consultants, as these permanent posts remain vacant or filled on a temporary basis.*
“Health service management’s decade-long failure to adequately and safely staff our Mental Health Service or provide the capacity needed to ensure that patients receive essential care is now starkly coming to the fore.
“Our system is letting some of our youngest and most vulnerable patients down, putting their health and safety at risk.
“A key response to this crisis is filling the 1 in 3 vacant permanent Consultant Psychiatry posts urgently, but as we know it is increasingly difficult to do so.
“Antiquated systems, a lack of inpatient beds and outpatient facilities, escalating waiting lists and diminishing staffing numbers have created a Mental Health Service that Consultants simply don’t want to work in. And despite these issues being consistently highlighted, little action is being taken.
“This needs immediate action to fill all CAMHS Consultant posts with Child and Adolescent Registered Specialists and fully staff the teams to the level required - and as outlined in several HSE and Government policies over the decades - in order to provide timely, essential care to children. We must prioritise the mental health of our younger generations now if we are to avoid continued future crises.”
* HSE NDTP PQ Response to Deputy David Cullinane, 24 March 2022: https://www.ihca.ie/_fileupload/PQ%20ref%2012721%2022%20Cullinane%20Consultant%20Posts%2024%20March%202022.pdf
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