Hundreds of children waiting over 3 months for mental health assessment in Cork - Pat Buckley TD
Sinn Féin Mental Health spokesperson and East Cork TD Pat Buckley has criticised the government's failure to address waiting lists for child and adolescent mental health services in Cork as it emerged 700 children are in need of assessment in the CHO 4 area covering the county.
The remarks come in light of a reply from the HSE which shows hundreds of children are waiting in the Cork area for months while 99 children in the region have been waiting a year and half to be seen by mental health professionals.
Deputy Buckley said;
"This is not surprising in a way as the government has failed to resource CAMHS, they have failed to recruit to CAMHS and they are failing to retain the staff they have due to the terrible strain workers face.
"Coupled with the news that the HSE is seeking a recruitment and overtime free for 3 months this list is only likely to grow and the suffering of these children be worsen as their treatment and care is delayed.
"Every day is so crucial in terms of intervention on youth mental health issues. Some of these children will be adults before they are assessed in the CAMHS system. It is nothing short of a disgrace and has real human consequences. The waiting is ruining young lives.
"If we invest properly in youth mental health at all levels of intervention we can see massive benefits and improvements over time. Equally if we neglect we are sowing the seeds of serious health and social problems in the future.
"For as long as I have been a TD and longer the CAMHS staff levels have been just over half of the recommended numbers. We need to make work in the sector attractive by improving pay, conditions and the environment in which these vital workers are expected to help children in dire need."