Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Questions (181)

Fiona O'Loughlin


181. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health his views on the number of children and adolescents awaiting treatment and-or assessments from CAMHS. [7041/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Developing Mental Health services remains a priority for Government. The recent Budget provided an additional €55 million to progress new developments in mental health which brings overall HSE mental health funding to nearly €1 billion in 2019.

It is important to note that the number of referrals to CAMHS increased from around 12,800 referrals received in 2011 to around 18,100 referrals expected in 2019. Cases assessed by professionals as urgent are seen as a matter of priority.

The total number of children on CAMHS Waiting List was 2,523 at the end of January 2019. The HSE has prioritised reducing CAMHS waiting lists, particularly those over 12 months, which was 310 in January.

There are now 70 CAMHS teams, and 3 Paediatric Liaison Teams. 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 Eating Disorders, and improved Prevention and Early Intervention services.

In conjunction with the Department of Health and the HSE, I am progressing various initiatives to enhance CAMHS, and also to adopt a wider approach around Prevention and Early Intervention measures, designed to alleviate pressures on the specialist CAMHS service. These include maximising the impact of the additional Primary Care Assistant Psychologists recruited in 2018 to relieve pressures on CAMHS; roll-out by the HSE of various e-mental health pilot projects; additional Mental Health Nurse training places coming on-stream to help fill existing vacancies; and a review of CAMHS under the refresh of A Vision for Change.

There is regular monitoring of CAMHS activity and staffing data by the Department of Health in conjunction with the HSE. In addition, I have held meetings with, and sought further information from, the Chief Officers and Executive Clinical Directors of the CHOs specifically on CAMHS vacancies, with a view to improving the rate of recruitment for CAMHS staff.