Children waiting over a year for mental health appointments in Limerick

THERE are more than 100 children and young adults waiting more than a year for mental health appointments in Limerick and the Mid West.

And there are still problems recruiting Consultant Child Psychiatrists who are the team leads in the Children and Young Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

According to figures supplied by the HSE Mid West Community Healthcare in response to a query from the Limerick Post, there were 371 children and young people awaiting assessment and treatment in the Mid West in the period from June 2022 to September 2022, with 103 of those waiting for more than a year.

The figure is a decrease on the numbers on the previous month’s waiting lists, when there were 407. The figure represents  9.7 per cent of the overall national waiting list for CAMHS, which currently stand at 3,818.

In the context of national figures available, this places the Mid West service as the fifth lowest in terms of waiting numbers.

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Replying to the query, a spokesman said “It is fully acknowledged that the current level of service provision falls short of where the service needs to be in terms of responding to the needs of the children and young people referred to it and their families.” 

The CAMHS service in Mid-West Community Health Care is currently provided by six Consultant Child Psychiatrist-led multi-disciplinary teams.

There is a seventh team in development which will provide more appointments and assessment opportunities and provide them faster, according to HSE Community Health Care.

“Over the past several months significant progress has been achieved in terms of recruiting to existing vacancies and filling new development posts,” the spokesman told the Limerick Post. 

“There are ongoing issues with recruiting to particular disciplines, especially Consultant Child Psychiatrists, which is an issue reflected nationally.

“Significant work is underway to further develop this service in CAMHS, Mid-West Community Healthcare Organisation. We are aware of the challenges for families and children and young people in having to wait for sometimes long periods to access the service but we have been and will continue to do all we can to develop this vital service for our population here in the Mid-West.”