6,500 children waiting for primary care psychology appointment T
HE 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.