6,500 chil­dren wait­ing for pri­mary care psy­chol­ogy ap­point­ment

Enniscorthy Guardian - - NEWS -

THE lack of services for child men­tal health through­out the coun­try was raised in the Dáil by Fianna Fáil Deputy James Browne. For ex­am­ple, he said more than 6,500 chil­dren were wait­ing for a pri­mary care psy­chol­ogy ap­point­ment at the end of May 2018. Some 1,700 of them had been wait­ing for more than a year to be seen.

‘De­mand for Child and Ado­les­cent Men­tal Health Services, CAMHS, is in­creas­ing; al­most 3,000 chil­dren are now wait­ing for a first ap­point­ment,’ he said.

‘In ex­cess of 300 of them have been wait­ing more than a year for a first as­sess­ment. This is an in­tol­er­a­ble wait for chil­dren to see a spe­cial­ist. The psy­chol­ogy services and CAMHS, which is our acute men­tal health ser­vice, are sis­ter services. De­lays in com­mu­nity psy­chol­ogy services are lead­ing to in­creased pres­sure on the acute services of­fered by CAMHS.

He said the num­ber of chil­dren who are be­ing ad­mit­ted to adult units in­creased by 20% in the past year.

Chil­dren who should not be in those units are be­ing ad­mit­ted to them, which is con­trary to Government pol­icy. Doc­tors and fam­i­lies are left with a Hob­son’s choice of ei­ther get­ting the services in an ap­pro­pri­ate set­ting or not get­ting them. That was to­tally in­ap­pro­pri­ate, he said.

In re­ply, Min­is­ter of State Catherine Byrne said one of the Government’s pri­or­i­ties is en­sur­ing ap­pro­pri­ate and ac­ces­si­ble men­tal health services for chil­dren who need them. This was re­flected by a Bud­get 2018 al­lo­ca­tion of an ad­di­tional €35 mil­lion for new devel­op­ments, bring­ing to­tal HSE men­tal health fund­ing this year to more than €910 mil­lion.

James Browne TD.

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