CAMHS in crisis over waiting times and staffing

By Mindo - 01st Mar 2018 | 67 views

<p class=”p1″>Almost 19,000 referrals to <span class=”s1″>CAMHS were received in 2017 and </span>the HSE expects around 18,830 <span class=”s1″>referrals to be made in 2018.</span>

<p class=”p1″>However, of the approximately 19,000 referrals last year, just 11,286 cases were seen by mental health services. The HSE had anticipated that 14,365 referrals <span class=”s1″>would be seen in 2017.</span>

<p class=”p1″>In May 2017, the <em>Sláintecare </em><span class=”s1″><em>Report </em>noted that in August 2016, </span>170 referred patients were waiting for over 12 months to be seen by CAMHS. By September, some 2,333 were awaiting a first ap<span class=”s1″>pointment referral, with 317 waiting more than one year, according </span><span class=”s1″>to HSE data. </span>In some areas, waiting lists for access to care are as long as 18 <span class=”s1″>months.</span>

<p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>According to figures supplied to the <strong><em>Medical Independent </em></strong>(<strong><em>MI</em></strong>) by the HSE, some 12 child and adolescent patients travelled abroad </span>for mental health treatment in <span class=”s1″>2017 under the Treatment Abroad Scheme.</span>

<p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Staffing within CAMHS nation</span>ally is at just 52 per cent of the level recommended in <em>A Vision for Change </em>(2006) and an extra <span class=”s1″>460 posts in CAMHS are required </span>to meet the recommendations of <span class=”s1″>the strategy.</span>

<p class=”p1″>A public consultant paediatric <span class=”s1″>psychiatrist, who spoke to <strong><em>MI </em></strong>on a range of issues affecting CAMHS, </span>highlighted that in some cases there are “adult psychiatrists <span class=”s1″>who have no specific child psychi</span>atry recognition with the Medical Council working with young peo<span class=”s1″>ple”.</span>

<span class=”s1″>Speaking to <strong><em>MI </em></strong>on condition of </span>anonymity, the psychiatrist commented: “The HSE has knowing<span class=”s1″>ly employed psychiatrists without appropriate expertise or qualifications in child psychiatry… are par</span>ents aware their children are not <span class=”s1″>in fact seen by a specialist?”</span>

<p class=”p1″>It is understood that in certain cases, adult psychiatrists have <span class=”s1″>been hired due to HSE difficulties in recruiting child and adolescent psychiatrists.</span>

<p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Asked by <strong><em>MI </em></strong>how many CAMHS staff have specific training in child </span>and adolescent psychiatry, a HSE <span class=”s1″>spokesperson said: “We do not collect this information nationally.”</span>

<p class=”p1″><strong><em>MI </em></strong>also queried how many adult psychiatrists are employed in CAMHS. “We do not have ac- cess to this information”, the <span class=”s1″>HSE replied.</span>

<p class=”p1″>President of the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland and Consultant Psychiatrist Dr John Hillery said that patients are entitled to <span class=”s1″>be seen by a specialist and should only be seen by a non-specialist if supervised by a specialist.</span>

<p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″><strong><em>See feature pages 4-6</em></strong></span>

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