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'Disgraceful neglect': Public rally in Wexford today over lack in mental health services for young people

A number of consultants have left the Camhs services in recent weeks and they must be urgently replaced, Sinn Féin said.

Image: Shutterstock/Dmytro Zinkevych

A PUBLIC RALLY is due to take place today in Wexford Town, with activists calling for posts to be urgently filled in vital positions in the treatment of children and young people’s mental health. 

Organisers have said the “non-existence” of the service Camhs - Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – in the south-east is having a “devastating effect on our young people and their families”. 

Under Camhs, young people can be referred to the service by their GP for a treatment for conditions such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders and psychosis.

Sinn Féin’s health spokesperson Louise Reilly wrote to Minister of State with responsibility for mental health Jim Daly over the issue, and said that three consultants have resigned from their roles within Camhs in recent weeks amid “the ever-escalating situation” in the region.

She said: “I have been informed by my colleagues on the ground and others that yet another consultant has left due to the stress and difficulties in providing CAMHS services due to a lack of staff.

This consultant has maintained that his position is untenable due to extremely challenging working conditions that exist in Camhs in the South East and I understand this consultant was a working as a locum at Carn House in Enniscorthy.
This situation in the South East has been escalating for some time and the recent departure of senior consultants and doctors is having a domino effect on the work force who are now operating in the absence of lead consultants. This situation has left staff without senior clinical guidance and management to sign off on case work.

She said that the situation has meant that young people and children are suffering because of a lack of these services.

In his response to Reilly, Daly said: “I wish to acknowledge receipt of your recent correspondence concerning the Camhs crisis in the south-east. This matter is currently being investigated and a further reply will issue as soon as possible.”

Ahead of today’s rally – which begins at midday from Redmond Square in the town – local Sinn Féin councillor Johnny Mythen urged Minister Daly to fill the posts as a “matter of extreme urgency”.

“I am appealing to the people of this county to take to the streets in huge numbers this Saturday to show government politicians that we will not tolerate the disgraceful neglect of proper mental health services for the people of Co Wexford any longer,” he said.

A Department of Health spokesperson told TheJournal.ie that there are “acknowledged staffing recruitment and retention issues” across the health system, including the mental health service, that the HSE is addressing.

Minister Daly has held various discussions with local HSE managers in the area to “address as a matter of priority services difficulties in Camhs” and is closely monitoring the situation, the spokesperson said.

In Waterford and Wexford, consultants from Galway are currently providing weekend clinics.

In Wexford south and Wexford north, there is no consultant in a post at present. 

“The Camhs Team continue to work existing caseloads, and emergency referrals are seen at the South Wexford weekend clinic provided by the Galway Consultants,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson also said that the resignation of three Camhs consultants have occurred recently in the region “for a number of different reasons”.

There are five external consultants who expressed interest in being on the weekend clinic roster, with the potential for an additional two consultants over the coming weeks, the spokesperson added.

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Sean Murray

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