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Resourcing crisis was ‘cruelly exposed’ in CAMHS- IHCA

By Reporter - 21st Apr 2022

Medical News Ireland

The consequences of the “resourcing crisis in our health system” were “cruelly exposed” at the South Kerry Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), the IHCA said today.

RTÉ reported this week that families affected “by failings in the HSE-run” service “are receiving details of a compensation scheme signed off by Government”.

A review of the CAMHS service was published at the beginning of this year and found that that 240 children did not receive the correct treatment and significant harm was caused to 46.

“The consequences of the resourcing crisis in our health system were cruelly exposed at the South Kerry Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS),” said the President of the IHCA, Professor Alan Irvine.

“Vulnerable children who depend on our health service were badly let down. These children and their families needlessly suffered. They continue to pay a heavy price.

“Page five of the Maskey Report into South Kerry CAMHS highlighted that the absence of a permanent Consultant Clinical Lead for five years contributed to the failure to deliver and sustain a high-quality service at CAMHS.”

Prof Irvine said that “there are over 800 Consultant posts across our health system either vacant or not filled on a permanent basis”.

“33 out of 114 permanent Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Consultant posts are unfilled in CAMH services across Ireland. The filling of all these posts on a permanent basis is essential for the provision of safe, adequately supervised services. Much of this is down to a 2012 Government decision to pay newly qualified Consultants less than those who qualified before them, even though they do the very same job.

“People who use our health system should expect safe, timely care. Those who go to work every day in our hospitals should expect basic resource support to do their jobs properly. Yet here we are.”

Prof Irvine added that “the proposed CAMHS compensation underlines once more the false economy that can exist in our health system”.

“Failing to recruit highly qualified professionals will inevitably lead to patient harm, poor clinical outcomes, and expose the State to high compensation costs. It is no way to organise a functional service.”

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