“If a GP feels that a child or young adult needs to be seen by a specialist mental health professional, I don’t think it should be refused,” said Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Primary Care, and Kerry TD, John Brassil.
Deputy Brassil was commenting after receiving a parliamentary response to a question he submitted in which he challenged the current practice of certain referrals for appointments being refused without an in-person consultation taking place.
“The CAMHS referral guidelines are clear that GPs are usually the first point of contact for families who seek help for various problems and hence they are ideally placed to recognise risk factors for mental health disorders and to refer to more appropriate community care personnel or specialist services such as CAMHS.
“I consider it highly unlikely that a GP would refer anyone under 18 to CAMHS if they did think that they qualified for such a service. No GP would take lightly such criteria as ‘the severity and complexity of the presenting mental health disorder is such that treatment at primary care service level has been unsuccessful.’
“If a GP believes that they need to be seen by a specialist, I think we need to trust our GPs and ensure that the referral takes place.
“Some may end up not needing any further appointments or treatments, but I do think they shouldn’t be refused without being seen by specialist.
“Is this a decision as a result of shortages in staff in CAMHS? If so, it’s a terrible departure for the HSE, and one which needs to be challenged immediately,” concluded Brassil.