Wednesday, 13 March 2019
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Administration
Developing all aspects of mental health remains a priority for Government, reflected by the additional €55 million provided in budget 2019, bringing overall HSE funding this year for this key care programme to €987 million. Demand for CAMHS has had an increase in referrals of over 20% since 2012. All aspects of CAMHS nationally are being improved by the HSE under its annual service plans. This includes better out-of-hours and 7-7 day cover, progression of day hospital care, developing specialist teams such as those for eating disorders, and improved prevention and early intervention services. There are now 70 CAMHS teams and three paediatric liaison teams. Approximately 18,100 CAMHS referrals are expected in 2019. Cases assessed by professionals as being urgent are seen as a matter of priority.
There are 76 CAMHS inpatient beds in four acute units nationally, with plans for additional beds in the new children's hospital, and the new forensic mental health hospital which is being built at Portrane and is due to open next year. Additional funding allocated to mental health services since 2012 has provided for the recruitment to more than 1,500 posts in mental health, including a significant number relating to CAMHS. There were 2,523 children on the HSE CAMHS waiting list in January 2019. In community healthcare organisation area 9, which covers the areas of Dublin 7 and 15, there were 193 on the CAMHS waiting list. There is currently no waiting list for the north inner city CAMHS team, Grangegorman, which covers the Dublin 7 area.
There is currently a waiting list of 68 for the Dublin 15 area, primarily due to a consultant on leave which has resulted in delays in routine appointments. A locum consultant psychiatrist has taken up duty with the Castleknock CAMHS team since 5 February. This will see a return to more normal levels of activity and a reduction in the waiting list. Prior to this date, cover was being provided via an arrangement between existing CAMHS consultants across other CAMHS teams in Dublin north city and county.
I regularly meet with the HSE to review progress on all aspects of CAMHS. In addition, I recently wrote to all executive clinical directors concerning recruitment and retention issues with a view to improving staffing levels on CAMHS teams thus improving access and reducing waiting lists.