The Mental Health Commission have published a series of further reports today, prepared by Dr Susan Finnerty, the Inspector of Mental Health Services, highlighting a number of concerns regarding child mental health services across several HSE Community Healthcare Organisations (“CHOs”) nationwide.
Dr Susan Finnerty’s nationwide examination was sparked by revelations last year in the South Kerry Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (“CAMHS”) facility following the publication of the Maskey Report.
It is reported that consultants working in the CHO area covering Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary felt that there was a lack of consultant cover causing the service to be unsafe.
Mental Health Services Safety Concerns
Dr Finnerty said two CAMHS teams in the CHO did not have the capacity to provide a safe mental health service for children. Across all nine CHO areas, CAMHS waiting lists this year amounted to in excess of 4,400.
No Out of Hours Emergency Service – Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary
There were 24 issues of concern in the CHO area of Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary. One of the concerns was the fact that no out of hours emergency service was provided. It was also noted that there were ongoing shortages and high turnover of staff.
Shortage of Care Concerns – Kerry
There remains serious concerns over the care available in County Kerry. It is reported that there hasn’t been a permanent consultant since August 2016.
The HSE has claimed that the fact the Maskey Report mainly focused on concerns in South Kerry has made it difficult to recruit a permanent consultant in that area.
Management of Clinical Files – Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan
It is reported that there were serious concerns expressed by the inspector about the management of clinical files in one CAMHS team, placing children at risk of being “lost” to follow-up and one team was described as “dysfunctional”.
Working Relationship Issues – Waterford, Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary
The inspector found one team where there were “clearly significant difficulties in working relationships” and there appeared to be a lack of understanding regarding the importance of antipsychotic base-line checks and monitoring.
Management of Cases – Kildare/West Wicklow, Dublin West, Dublin South City, and Dublin Southwest
One of the teams in this area was unable to produce a list or database of its open cases.
In another team it is reported that it was hard to know what the team’s case load was. Clinical files were not being brought to multi-disciplinary team meetings and so were not updated. There was also poor follow-up of young people and a lack of co-ordination of care.
The latest findings raise several important concerns about the lack of adequate CAMHS facilities across the country, that will need to be properly investigated and addressed in order to provide suitable services nationwide which are very much needed.
For Further Information
For more details on the implications of these findings, please contact Avril Scally, Partner and Head of our award-winning Medical Negligence Team.