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At the start of December 2018, at least 29 CAMHS consultants were employed within the service on a temporary/locum basis, due to ongoing difficulties in attracting permanent child and adolescent psychiatrists.
The HSE stressed the figure could be higher, as the data is extracted from a newly-introduced system and could therefore have “variances and gaps”.
The number of staff employed in CAMHS, which treats young people with conditions such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders and self-harm, is around 56 per cent of that recommended in A Vision for Change.
As of October 2018, there were 10.55 whole-time equivalent (WTE) CAMHS consultant psychiatrist vacancies nationally.
Some posts are vacant because of recruitment difficulties, while others are unfilled because they are unfunded.
Some 2,250 children and adolescents were awaiting CAMHS treatment in October, with almost 300 waiting over 12 months and more than 100 waiting over 18 months.
The HSE operates a CAMHS Waiting List Initiative, which aims to ensure no person is waiting over 12 months but a spokesperson said ongoing recruitment issues have created difficulties.
There are 70 CAMHS teams nationally and each week they review all referrals and prioritise urgent referrals.
Some 18 clinical posts were filled at CAMHS in 2018, including three consultant psychiatrist and two psychologist posts.
“The level of vacancies reflects employment market conditions. Recruitment of medical staff, including psychiatrists, occurs in an international labour market where clinicians will work where terms and conditions are most attractive to their circumstances,” the HSE’s spokesperson said.
“The number of vacancies changes regularly as staff move through our systems. Additionally, vacant posts are often filled by locums and agency staff.”
Only half of all CAMHS posts advertised in the last two years have been filled. This is due to a lack of applicants, unsuitable applicants and applicants withdrawing from the process.
“A detailed Mental Health Workforce analysis has just been finalised and identifies required actions for developing local workforce plans supported by national enabling actions,” the HSE’s spokesperson said.