Statement by Irish Medical Organisation on CAMHS
Professor Matthew Sadlier, Consultant Psychiatrist and IMO Consultant Committee Member
Friday 28th January 2022. The revelations this week of failures in the CAMHS service in Kerry are shocking but they are in many ways the inevitable result of years of inattention and underfunding of critical health and mental health services across the State.
The consequences of these failures for the families involved are deeply concerning and responding to the needs of those families must be the immediate priority.
But this is a systems failure which will inevitably lead to a cycle of blame and finding the “individual” responsible rather than looking at fundamental issues which have led to this.
The inability of the health system generally, and in this case CAMHS, to recruit sufficient number of consultants so that teams are supported and equipped to do their job, is a direct contributor to this latest failure in care provision. We have known for a long time of the unmet need of patients, and we also know that will grow significantly as a direct result of the pandemic, yet we are still woefully unprepared.
Any review which seeks to seriously address the fundamental problems must examine the contributory factors:
- Lack of Medical Workforce Planning for services
- Inability to recruit sufficient numbers of consultants to meet patient need
- The complete lack of focus on supportive services for medication management such as integration of clinical pharmacy into Multi-Disciplinary Teams (MDTs), lack of access to medical diagnostic services to Community Mental Health Teams and electronic patient records/prescribing
- Impact of moving care to the community with inadequate staffing levels and governance structures
The IMO has been highlighting the issues in our mental health services for many years and appeal to Government to seriously tackle the problems with medical recruitment in both CAMHS and the wider health services.