Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly Barry Cowen has warned that the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service is unable to cope with increasing demand and has called on Government to deliver on its commitment to provide additional resources for the service.
Deputy Cowen made the comments after obtaining new information which shows that 348 children are waiting for an appointment in the CHO8 area which includes Laois, Offaly, Longford, Westmeath Louth and Meath
Deputy Cowen said, “There are now 2,691 children across Ireland waiting for an appointment under the CAMHS service. The figure stands at 348 for CHO8 which includes all of Offaly."
"It’s perfectly clear for all to see that the CAMHS service is simply not able to meet current demand. What’s even more alarming is the fact that 56 of these children are waiting longer than 12 months to get an appointment," he claimed.
“There will be well over 3,000 children stuck on waiting lists before the end of the year if the current trend continues. This is unacceptable and shows that the Government mental health strategy is floundering."
“These children that are stuck on waiting lists are waiting for an appointment. It could be many more months before they actually get the intervention they need once this appointment has been secured. The evidence shows us that the earlier an intervention occurs the better the outcome for the child," Cowen stated.
“The Government has repeatedly claimed that it is improving the capacity of CAMHS nationwide. The reality on the ground paints a different picture. The reality is that CAMHS cannot even keep up with the current demand," he continued.
“The central issue is recruitment. Figures obtained by Fianna Fáil last year showed that a staff complement of 1,237 is required for a full CAMHS service. However just 667 were in place in 2017. The Government strategy for CAMHS is clearly failing and a rethink is urgently needed,” Cowen concluded.
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