Limerick TD says waiting list for children’s mental health services is ‘unacceptable’

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

Deputy Quinlivan hit out at waiting lists for mental health services

Deputy Quinlivan hit out at waiting lists for mental health services

MORE THAN 240 children in the Mid-West were left waiting for mental health services, according to recent figures released by Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan.

Deputy Quinlivan described the child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) as being in a “state of crisis” as it “continues to suffer from underfunding and a recruitment and retention crisis”.

He said the situation in Limerick is “extremely worrying”.

At the end of October, there were 245 children waiting for mental health services in Limerick, Clare and Tipperary. In total, nationally, 2,250 children were waiting for these services.

“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.

“The reason there is such a backlog for access to these services is that CAMHS is not being adequately funded and the area is suffering from the government’s inability to address the recruitment and retention crisis,” he said.

He said the waiting periods are putting “people at very serious risk”.

Deputy Quinlivan said that the service only has 57% of the staff needed as had been recommended in a Government report in 2006.

“Here in Limerick the situation is just as poor as we have only 68.9% of the necessary staff,” adding that there are 12 full-time— or whole-time equivalent— posts vacant in the Mid-West.

“This current situation is unacceptable, we cannot approach every year in the same vein by paying lip service to mental health services and then not properly funding or staffing them.”