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Adams condemns government failure to deliver promised Primary Care Centre for Dundalk

18 April, 2019 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has written to Jim Daly TD, the Minister of State at the Department of Health, for more information on the announcement today that “Louth/Meath Mental Health Services are currently looking at a new town centre location in Dundalk with a view to providing improved CAMHS to North Louth. The HSE is hopeful that this will come on stream toward the end of the year.”

Teachta Adams said:

“This is the latest of a long list of unfulfilled promises. The Minister and the HSE need to provide greater clarity about this latest proposed new arrangement.”

The announcement came in response to a Topical Issues question in the Dáil on Wednesday evening from Teachta Adams in which the Louth TD criticised the current state of CAMHS in North Louth and condemned the government’s failure to plan for the construction of a Primary Care Centre for the North Louth region.

Speaking in the Dáil, Gerry Adams said:

“There has been a consistent failure by the government to deliver adequate and effective community mental health services in North Louth, in particular Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

“13 years after the publication of ‘A Vision for Change,’ Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are in crisis in my constituency.

“Figures released last week show that 345 young people in CHO 8, which covers Louth, are waiting for CAMHS services. Of these, over one third – 140 – have been waiting for more than three months. Other figures released to my colleague Louise O’Reilly show that the staffing deficit in CAMHS needs at least €40 million just to address existing staff shortages.

“Today, CHO 8 only has just over half (54 per cent) of the number of staff which ‘Vision for Change’ said was necessary. Currently, this area does not have a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist; five Senior Medical Social Workers; two Senior psychologists and a range of other senior positions are unfilled.

“This means that hundreds of children and young people in Louth are not receiving the mental health supports they need within the appropriate timeframes.

“13 years ago under ‘A Vision for Change’, Louth mental health services were allocated additional staff.  However, there was no building in North Louth for them to operate out of. Consequently, we have people from the North of the County, Carlingford, Omeath, Faughart, Shelagh, Dundalk, Dromiskin, and many other places, having to travel to Ardee or Drogheda to access community mental health services.

“This places an unfair burden of travel on vulnerable individuals and their families. Community services should be delivered in the community.

“In August 2018, when I asked about the lack of suitable premises, I was told that community mental health services for North Louth were to be provided within a new Primary Care Centre located in Dundalk. This was first advertised in 2008. In November 2016, I was advised in a PQ response that it was hoped the Operational Lease Process for the Primary Care Centre should be completed in the first quarter of 2017.

“Last August, the HSE stated that a planning application for the Primary Care Centre would be submitted by the end of 2018; that work would commence in 2019 and the centre would be opened early in 2020.

“None of these deadlines have or will be met. Dundalk Primary Care Centre did not even feature on a list of centres at advanced planning provided to Deputy Louise O’Reilly three weeks ago. This is an intolerable situation. The government is failing the citizens of Louth.”

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