Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary Jackie Cahill has expressed serious concern about the lack of out of hours services available for children and teenagers suffering with mental health issues.
Following a Parliamentary Question from Deputy Cahill with regard to CAMHS services in Co. Tipperary, the HSE stated that “discussions are taking place in relation to the future development of child/adolescent services within the available resources”.
Deputy Cahill commented, “The HSE statement talks about recruitment of staff and initiatives to improve early intervention for young people but there is no detail on when these additional staff will be in place or when we can expect to see a reduction in waiting times for appointments.
“In many cases it can take up to 12 weeks – that’s three months – for a child to get a first appointment with a CAMHS team, and shockingly there were 18 children in Tipperary waiting more than a year for an appointment in 2018. This is completely unacceptable and could have very serious consequences for the children involved. We are all too aware of the importance of early intervention – being forced to wait over a year for an appointment is inexcusable.
“There are also serious issues with the lack of out of hours services. I have been contacted by a number of people worried that they will be forced to take their child to an Emergency Department outside of the standard office hours. An ED is a completely unsuitable environment for a child or teenager with mental health issues.
“Many parents find themselves travelling to Kilkenny or Ennis because there are no acute mental health beds available in Tipperary. This is extremely distressing for the children as well as a huge burden for parents.
“The 2019 HSE service plan contains a commitment to develop seven day a week CAMHS service but fails to set out a clear mechanism by which this can be achieved. This government cannot be allowed to make grand plans and announcements without delivering on their promises. I will be actively engaging with my party colleagues and the relevant stakeholders to push for a full 24/7 CAMHS service for young people and I will be pushing Ministers Harris and Daly to ensure that their commitments are seen through”, concluded Deputy Cahill.