Enhancement of the specialist CAMHS service, including improved access and reducing waiting lists, remains a priority for both the Government and the HSE.
Cases assessed by professionals as urgent are seen as a matter of priority. There are now 70 CAMHS teams nationally, compared to 49 in 2008, 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.
HSE Mental Health services will receive €1.026 billion in funding in 2020, an increase of €315m since 2012.
The national CAMHS waiting list has reduced by around 500 so far this year, from around 2,500 in December 2018 to around 2,000 in August 2019.
There were 63 children awaiting an appointment for the Balbriggan and Swords CAMHS teams at the end of October last, of which, 31 (or just under half) are waiting up to 3 months and 50 (or 80%) are waiting up to 6 months with the remainder waiting between 6 and 12 months.
CAMHS in North County Dublin, which includes Balbriggan and Swords, serves one of the fastest growing catchment areas in Ireland, including a significant young population. Based on Census data, Balbriggan CAMHS serves an under 18 population of nearly 18,000 and Swords CAMHS serves an under 18 population of around 25,000.
Both North County Dublin CAMHS teams have reported higher volumes of referrals this year, of up to 10% to the end of October last along with increased levels of more acute presentations. Both teams have had staffing challenges during this year. This has been addressed by the HSE with posts being replaced and filled across Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, Psychology, Social Work and Administration support.
This will greatly assist the teams in reducing waiting lists in a defined, coordinated and sustainable manner. The CAMHS service will continue to strive to reduce waiting lists across all of North Dublin.