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Substantial IT investment needed for CAMHS

By David Lynch - 23rd Jun 2024

IT investment

Suboptimal IT systems have been identified as a “major delivery issue” for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), according to a recent internal meeting.

A meeting of the HSE safety and quality committee in March emphasised the need for a modernised IT system to enhance oversight, governance, and the overall delivery of CAMHS and other mental health services.

According to minutes, “it was highlighted that services can’t speak to each other efficiently without an
IT upgrade and this was resulting in services being unduly separated.”

The minutes cited the separation between systems for disability and mental health services as an example.

Committee members were also briefed on additional challenges facing CAMHS, including the HSE recruitment embargo and the lack of multi-annual funding.

These issues further compromised the sustainability and development of a comprehensive service model
for CAMHS.

“There is a substantial level of investment required to improve the sustainability of the service and to develop a comprehensive service model,” the meeting minutes reported.

On funding for CAMHs, a HSE spokesperson commented: “The funding required for each year is assessed through an estimates process, which in turn informs the letter of determination (LoD) that specifies the level of funding granted through the Department of Health.”

Based on the LoD, the Executive’s board prepared and approved the HSE National Service Plan 2024, which was submitted to the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly in December 2023.

Following a review, an additional €10 million was allocated to mental health services (adult and CAMHS) for 2024.

Minister Donnelly recently announced funding has been made available for the HSE to hire almost 3,000 staff this year, signalling an end to the recruitment embargo.

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