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HSE apologises to young people over 'care deficiencies' in Kerry mental health services

The executive will issue written apologies to around 250 families.

THE HSE HAS apologised for the failures in care experienced by children and young adults who sought help via South Kerry Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

The HSE will tomorrow publish a report of a review into the treatment received by more than 1,300 children and teenagers who attended the services between July 2016 and April 2021.

The review was commissioned by the HSE after concerns were raised about the treatment of a number of young people attending certain facilities. It was conducted by a team led by Dr Seán Maskey, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist based in London.

It is understood the review deals with inappropriate prescribing of medication and issues related to patients’ diagnoses.

The HSE has apologised directly to the young people affected and their families. The executive will be issuing written apologies to around 250 families for care deficiencies identified in the review, a spokesperson told The Journal.

After complaints were made, the files of around 50 patients were examined by the HSE. The executive then decided to review the files of everyone who attended the services between July 2016 and April 2021.

“We have received Dr Seán Maskey’s final report and will publish it [tomorrow]. Our priority remains the young people affected and their families.

“Before we publish the report formally, we want to make sure that young people and their families receive the report summary and other documentation which will support them in reading and processing this detailed report,” the spokesperson said.

‘Acting on all recommendations’

The report’s findings and recommendations are being sent to the families and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly this week prior to being published online tomorrow.

“We ask for the time and space to communicate directly with the young people affected, as we have done on an ongoing basis since last April when the review process began,” the HSE spokesperson said in a statement.

“We will not be making any further comment until young people and families receive the report, other than to say that supports are in place for those affected, and that we are committed to acting on all recommendations in the report.

“Where the review identified deficits in the care of any young person, we have apologised directly and sincerely to that young person and where appropriate their family. We are repeating that apology in writing as part of the publication process.”

The spokesperson said any “urgent issues” identified during the review process “were dealt with immediately”.

“We sincerely thank the young people and families who took part in the review process, and we do not underestimate how difficult this has been for them,” they added.

Anyone affected by the situation can contact the HSE on 1800 742 800. The opening hours are from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

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