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Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

HSE 'screening' files of patients that may have involved Kerry CAMHS scandal doctor

The ‘screening’ follows a report in January that found 46 children had suffered significant harm.

LAST UPDATE | 20 Sep 2022

THE HSE IS “screening” files of patients in north Kerry to identify cases where a junior doctor involved in a CAMHS scandal “may have had an involvement”.

A review published in January of more than 1,300 files of children who attended the South Kerry CAMHS found that 46 children treated by the doctor had suffered significant harm.

It also found that 227 children being treated by the junior doctor employed at the service were exposed to the risk of significant harm due to the doctor’s diagnosis and treatment of them.

That review was led by Dr Sean Maskey and Taoiseach Micheál Martin said it was a “damning indictment” of the service.

In a statement to The Journal, a HSE spokesperson said this review looked at “not just files in south Kerry but also a number of files on north Kerry”.

The spokesperson added that the HSE is “currently screening files in north Kerry so that we can identify any remaining files” where the junior doctor “may have had an involvement, at any level”.

It was also noted that the HSE “expects many of these files will have previously been identified” and it is not anticipated that there will be a large number of files.

Once these files are screened, any cases where there may be a potential for a “clinical concern” will be examined by Dr Maskey.

The HSE spokesperson said this does not equate to a “review” and that Dr Maskey will be available to undertake this work in the coming months.

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Mental Health, Deputy Mark Ward, has welcomed the move.

However, he added that it “should have been initiated much earlier”.

“People at the very heart of this within the HSE must be held accountable, and children must be safeguarded from future mistreatment,” said Deputy Ward.

Random audit

This “screening” of files is separate to a random audit of files that is also underway at north Kerry CAMHS.

It was announced in June and  50 files will be audited, which equals around ten percent of the case load of the north Kerry CAMHS team.

It’s expected that this will be completed before the end of October, but the HSE said it “cannot give a firm date for its completion”.

However, the health service added that the audit is “progressing as planned” and the team of specialist consultants involved have advised that they are “making good progress”.

The HSE spokesperson said: “This sample audit is being undertaken in order to give assurance to ourselves and the public about the quality of the CAMHS service being provided in North Kerry.”

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