Fianna Fáil TD for Wicklow Stephen Donnelly has warned that the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are in crisis as new information shows that 490 children are waiting for an appointment in Wicklow, Dun Laoghaire and Dublin South East.
The latest available figures from March show that there are now 2,579 children nationally waiting for an appointment. 386 children are longer than 12 months for a CAMHS appointment, up from 350.
Deputy Donnelly said, “The situation with the CAMHS waiting list is now reaching crisis point. There are now 490 children in the CHO6 area, which includes Wicklow, who are waiting for an appointment. This represents a 14% increase in the number of children waiting for an appointment since Christmas.
“Worryingly, there are now 14 children waiting longer than 12 months for an appointment, representation a 130% increase since Christmas. All the evidence suggests that this figure is set to increase even further in the weeks ahead.
“These children that are stuck on waiting lists are waiting for an appointment. It could be many more months before they actually get the intervention they need once this appointment has been secured. The evidence shows us that the earlier an intervention occurs the better the outcome for the child. This is of little comfort to the children who are stuck on waiting lists for over a year.
“The Government has repeatedly claimed that it is improving the capacity of CAMHS nationwide. The reality on the ground paints a different picture. The reality is that CAMHS cannot even keep up with the current demand, let alone start to reverse the number of people stuck on waiting lists.
“CAMHS is heading for a major crisis. The number of children stuck waiting over a year for an appointment is now increasing at a rapid pace. The central issue is recruitment. Figures obtained by Fianna Fáil showed that a staff complement of 1,237 is required for a full CAMHS service. However just 667 were in place in 2017. The Government strategy for CAMHS is clearly failing,” concluded Deputy Donnelly.