The number of CAMHS registered consultants in the MidWest is to double by the end of March.
It comes after a damning report by the Mental Health Commission which revealed that 140 patients in the region were ‘lost’ within the system.
The Mental Health Commission released it’s interim report into the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) yesterday, which includes an examination of the service in the MidWest.
As of November, there were 423 minors in Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary waiting for an initial assessment, with 138 of those waiting more than a year.
One of the main findings in the report is that 140 children in this region were ‘lost’ within the system.
However, HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare has clarified that these children were identified during a Healthcare Record Review in in March 2022 and have already been contacted and received the appropriate care.
Additionally, the HSE says the number of CAMHS registered consultants in the Mid West will increase to
7.2 whole time equivalents by the end of March, up from 3.6 in January 2022.
But, Fine Gael Councillor from Ennis and member of the Regional Health Forum West, Mary Howard, says the duration without contact must have been terrifying for these families.
She’s described the report as ‘chilling’ and ‘distressing’.
Clare Youth Service insists it’s important not to gloss over the positives attached to CAMHS service.
HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare says a number of measures have already been implemented to improve the service for young people, including: additional clinical supervision for CAMHS consultants who are not on the specialist register, the development of a new consultant-led multidisciplinary CAMHS hub in Limerick, the development of an additional CAMHS Team for the Mid West region and the implementation of a robust risk management system.
Margaret Slattery, CEO of Clare Youth Service, has described the CAMHS service as innovative in their approach to young people.
She believes a wider conversation needs to take place in relation to the increased demand for youth mental health services.
The manager of the Clare Crusaders says the limited capacity for in-house mental health services is placing additional pressure on the CAMHS office in the Mid-West.
Independent Councillor from Barefield, Ann Norton, says the lack of beds available for young people with mental health issues to be admitted for care in this region is something which needs to be examined.
Listen back to the full interview here:
STATEMENT FROM HSE MID-WEST COMMUNITY HEALTHCARE
Interim Report into an Independent Review of the Provision of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
HSE Mid West Community Healthcare has received the Mental Health Commission’s Interim Report into CAMHS services across five Community Healthcare Organisations, including the Mid West.
HSE Mid West Community Healthcare is making significant investments in CAMHS services. The findings contained within this interim report will help to inform this process, supporting the continued expansion of this service, benefitting the children and young people using CAMHS.
Healthcare Record Review In Respect of One Mid West CAMHS Team
In January 2022, as a direct result of a deficit of senior clinical capacity across the Mid West CAMHS service, we engaged an independent external facilitator to conduct a comprehensive staff engagement process with the CAMHS teams. This identified key service challenges and as a result we developed an Action Plan for CAMHS. This is now being implemented.
Following on from this process, in March 2022, a Healthcare Record Review was commissioned in respect of one of our CAMHS teams. We undertook this review because there were a number of vacant posts within the service, due to the combination of sick leave, maternity leave and retirement of some Team members. This work examined the full caseload within this team, and identified 140 children or young people who required further follow-up.
HSE Mid West Community Healthcare then completed the following actions:
• All affected children and young people/their parents or guardians were contacted.
• All children and young people on that team received appropriate care, including face-to-face appointments, telehealth appointments, clinical reviews, and discharge and referral to other services, as necessary.
All children have now received the required follow-up care, and no adverse impacts have been identified for any of the children involved.
A full-time CAMHS consultant has been in place on this team since July 2022. In addition, another consultant has been appointed and is providing care via tele-psychiatry. For these appointments, the young person is on-site in a CAMHS facility and they are accompanied by a member of the CAMHS Team throughout.
This work meant that this Healthcare Record Review was well-progressed before the Mental Health Commission’s review began in the Mid West in June 2022. It enabled us to provide the inspectors with significant amounts of information in respect of this ongoing review and the actions taken in response to these findings.
Audit of cases in second Mid West CAMHS Team
In respect of a second CAMHS Team in the Mid West, where there had been some changes among the senior clinical leadership, HSE Mid West Community Healthcare took the decision to carry out a separate audit. Such auditing is an integral part of safe clinical practice. This audit, also referred to in the Mental Health Commission report, was undertaken by us proactively, and it confirmed to us that all of the children and young people were assigned a key workers, and that they were being offered appropriate follow up.
Service Improvements Undertaken in Mid West CAMHS
The number of CAMHS registered consultants in the Mid West will increase to 7.2WTE by the end of March 2023, up from 3.6WTE in January 2022. These consultants are also being supported through the appointment of additional Non-Consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHDs).
- Additional clinical supervision for the CAMHS consultants who are not on the specialist register is in place, strengthening the safety and quality of the service.
- A new consultant-led multidisciplinary CAMHS Hub is being developed in Limerick. This an alternative model to providing inpatient care, involving treatment at home or in a day hospital, and is designed to meet needs of existing CAMHS service users with complex needs from throughout the Mid West. Recruitment is currently underway.
- An additional CAMHS Team is in development for the Mid West region. This will bring the total number of CAMHS Teams to seven.
- Additional posts are being progressed to strengthen CAMHS Teams across the Mid West.
- A robust risk management system is in place. When risks are communicated to senior management, the HSE Risk Assessment process is fully utilised.
As a result of the work undertaken by the CAMHS service across the Mid West, HSE Mid West Community Healthcare is confident that services for children have now improved. We acknowledge that challenges remain within our CAMHS service, and we are committed to the ongoing recruitment of staff and implementing further service improvements.
A key recommendation of this interim report is that the HSE undertakes a review of open cases within the CAMHS service. We will complete this review and any required follow-up actions without delay.
We wish to thank our staff for their commitment and professionalism, and for their support to children and young people in the Mid West. We urge every family with a child or young person who is currently under the care of a CAMHS Team to continue to avail of this important service.
Any parent or guardian with a concern or query about their child who is currently attending CAMHS should call HSELive at 1800 700 700. Their details will be taken, and arrangements will be made for their CAMHS team to contact them if necessary.