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Staggering decline in the number of CAMHS referrals being accepted - Mark Ward TD

16 May, 2023 - by Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has received startling figures from the HSE that shows a year-on-year decrease in the number of referrals for children to CAMHS who are being accepted for treatment.

Teachta Ward said:

“Information I received from the HSE through a Parliamentary Question shows an annual decrease in children being accepted for treatment with CAMHS after a medical expert made a referral.

“In 2020, 72% of all referrals to CAMHS were accepted nationally. This decreased to 65% in 2021 and further to 60% in 2022.

“The latest figures I have state that only 56% of referrals were accepted so far in 2023.

“The trajectory only seems to be going one way.

“There is also an element of postcode treatment in the provision of CAMHS services.

“In CHO Area 1, which includes Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan 72% of all referrals were accepted.

“However, in CHO Area 9, which includes Dublin North, Dublin North Central, and Dublin Northwest, only 49% of children referred were accepted for treatment.

“Treatment should be based on need, not on location.

“There are a number of reports into CAMHS being conducted at present and they must investigate if there is uniformity across all CHOs on how the operational guidelines for acceptance for CAMHS are operated.

“The very first operational guideline for CAMHS states it aims to ‘provide consistency in the service delivery of CAMHS throughout the country’.

“This is obviously not happening, and these operational guidelines also need to be reviewed.

“I have asked the Minister to publish the reports into CAMHS and to put in place all the recommendations

“Even when a child is accepted for treatment, they will join a record high of over 4,000 children waiting for an appointment with CAMHS.

“There also needs to be emphasis on resourcing primary care mental health for young people, because if they are unable to access this treatment when they need it, they are more likely to be referred into CAMHS.

“There needs to be changes within youth mental health, from top to bottom. Young people are being let down and left behind by Government and this cannot be allowed to continue.”

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