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Jennifer Whitmore TD

More than 4,000 children and adolescents waiting to access mental health services across all nine CHOs

The publication of individual reports for each of the nine Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs) provides further insights into the level of dysfunction within Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), according to Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson on children, said:

“Today’s publication of individual reports for each CHO by the Mental Health Commission lays bare the true scale of the crisis at local level. It not only highlights unacceptably long waiting lists, but also raises serious safety concerns about how CAMHS operates in a number of CHOs.

“Poor governance and chronic staff shortages continue to result in a situation where vulnerable children and teenagers cannot be guaranteed a safe standard of care when accessing mental health services. Areas of concern identified in some CHO reports included the absence of an out-of-hours service, consultants only working part-time and children being left without a renewal of their prescription.

“The combined waiting list for all nine CHOs this year was more than 4,000. Behind this grim statistic there are thousands of children whose mental health difficulties continue to be neglected by the State, while their parents are forced to cope on their own.

“These individual reports for each CHO informed the damning assessment of CAMHS by the Inspector of Mental Health Services, Dr Susan Finnerty, published in July.

“It is crucial that the Government now acts on the 49 recommendations contained in Dr Finnerty’s report, and in particular her view that CAMHS should be immediately and independently regulated by the Mental Health Commission.”

August 31, 2023

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