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Staggering increase in children refused treatment by CAMHS - Mark Ward TD

18 August, 2022 - 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 increase in the amount of children who are referred to CAMHS but are denied treatment.

Teachta Ward said:

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

“In 2020, 72% of all referrals to CAMHS were accepted nationally. This has decreased to 62% today.

“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 73% of all referrals were accepted.

“However in CHO Area 9, which includes Dublin North, Dublin North Central, and Dublin North West, only 46% of children referred were accepted for treatment.

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

“In CHO Area 4, which includes Kerry, North Cork, North Lee, South Lee, and West Cork there has been a staggering 22% decrease in children accepted by CAMHS between 2020 and today.

“This is the area that the Maskey report published in January found that 46 children who attended South Kerry CAMHS between 2016 and 2020 had suffered significant harm under the care of a doctor.

“A further 227 children, who were treated by the same doctor, were put at risk of harm, while 13 young patients had also been put at risk while under the care of other doctors.

“There are two national audits into CAMHS at present. These audits must include why 1000s of children are refused treatment annually.

“The HSE and the Government must investigate why there is an increase in children being refused treatment and why different CHO areas are performing better than others.

“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.

“Even when a child is accepted for treatment, they will join the over 4000 children waiting for an appointment with CAMHS.”

The response to Deputy Ward's Parliamentary Question can be read here.

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