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One third of all CAMHS beds empty due to lack of staff - Pat Buckley TD

18 September, 2019 - by Pat Buckley TD

Sinn Féin Mental Health spokesperson Pat Buckley TD has blamed short staffing for figures which reveal on average 33% of Child and Adolescent Mental Health beds were not in use in July. The figures came from a Freedom of Information request asking about the capacity of the services and bed numbers.

 Deputy Buckley said;

“We know Child and Adolescent Mental Health services are massively overstretched across the state, CAMHS outpatient services, counselling and Jigsaw amongst other amenities are in huge demand and struggling to keep waiting lists from growing. This is in spite of the good work of the staff in place.

"Correct staffing is essential to provide effective, efficient and safe care, especially with vulnerable young people.

"There is no doubt that due to these problems in our out patients services demand for acute inpatient care has grown also. While CAMHS beds have increased they are only at 75% of the level recommended by Vision for Change over a decade ago.

"However, this is actually under 50% on average because units are not being staffed adequately to meet capacity.

"Of course it is preferable to have a greater number of beds than what is generally needed but we know that we are far below that level even if 100% capacity was in place right now.

"We need to end the recruitment and retention crisis, offer full time contracts for new nurses and end any block on overtime. These problems will not be resolved by allowing the system to worsen and training mental health professionals for years just to emigrate or work as agency staff.”

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