Adams seeks clarification on CAMHS provision and Dundalk Primary Care Centre
In response to a Dáil question from Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams last April, Minister of State at the Department of Health Jim Daly TD announced 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.”
The Sinn Féin Louth TD warned at the time that: “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.”
In a letter to Teachta Adams last Monday, the Minister made no mention of the new town centre location for CAMHS services. Instead, Minister Daly said that the Dundalk Primary Care Centre is only at the design stage and “until the new building is ready for occupation, community mental health services for North Louth will continue to be run from Ladywell and Ardee”.
Gerry Adams said:
“The Minister’s letter adds to the confusion around CAMHS services for the North Louth area. I have again written to him seeking clarification of HSE plans for mental health services in the Dundalk area. Specifically I have asked the Minister about his announcement in April of a new town centre location in Dundalk for CAMHS. Is this still part of the immediate plan for CAMHS services or has it been scrapped?
“The Primary Care Centre for Dundalk was first announced in 2008. In 2016, I was told that the Operational Lease Process should be completed by the start of 2017. Last August, the HSE said that a planning application would be submitted by the end of 2018 and the centre would be opened by 2020. And it did not feature at all on a list of Primary Care Centres, provided to my colleague Louise O’Reilly TD several weeks ago by the HSE, that is at advanced planning stage.
“According to the Minister’s letter this week, the Primary Care Centre is still only at Design Stage. The Minister wrote: ‘This means that a process is currently ongoing to agree what services will occupy the building and agreeing design layouts with those services. This stage can take several months to complete.’
“This would suggest that it is very unlikely that the Primary Care Centre will be opened by projected 2020 date. I have asked the Minister for the new projected timeline for the various stages that the construction of the Primary Care Centre must still complete and what is the expected completion and opening date?
“Finally, while some progress has been made in filling vacant posts for the new CAMHS team in Louth there are still several senior positions vacant, including a Senior Social Work post and a Staff Nurse.
“It is important that we remember that according to the most recent figures there are 345 young people in CHO 8, which covers Louth, waiting for CAMHS services. Of these over one third – 140 – have been waiting for more than three months. Last month CHO 8 only had just over half (54 per cent) of the number of staff which ‘Vision for Change’ – the Mental Health strategy first published in 2006 - said was necessary.
“As with the funding crisis around the National Children’s Hospital, the Broadband debacle, and the Housing and homelessness crisis, the policies of this Fine Gale government, in partnership with Fianna Fáil, are failing to deliver vital public services.”
Note: Please see the letter in question from Minister Daly attached