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In June, the Medical Independent ( MI) ran a similar story calling for increased ANPs which could reduce waiting lists for mental health services.
There has been a significantly increased demand on the CAMHS service nationally since 2012. For example, there has been increased funding for CAMHS for Laois/Offaly from €1.387m in 2011 to €2.528m in 2018. The number of referrals received in this area increased from 167 to 1,044 during the same time period.
Minister Daly said: “I am happy to announce that I approved 10 new posts for ANPs that will be specifically directed to the CAMHS service nationally. These new ANPs will play a key role in delivering better service co-ordination where local service pressures are greatest.”
According to the Minister, one of the aims was to discuss possible improvements around referral pathways on CAMHS, including raising awareness among all health professionals involved in this process. The Minister said that while there were many good examples of CAMHS operation at local level, there was scope for improvement in examining a standardised approach nationally.
This would require better links with other services such as disabilities, primary care or DBT therapy. The Chief Officers acknowledged that the recent appointment of around 114 assistant psychologists and 20 senior psychologists for primary care will help clarify roles and responsibilities between that service and CAMHS.
The Minister highlighted the potential of on-going work to introduce as soon as possible a new national contact telephone line for mental health services and a tele-psychiatry service. These services should assist in reducing inappropriate referrals to CAMHS and help direct those who have relatively low level mental distress issues to the range of other mental health supports available to young people.
Another issue raised at the meeting was the need for better inter-agency awareness and co-operation, including those in the educational and child care fields, of the role of the specialist CAMHS service.