A new consultant psychiatrist has been appointed to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in the North West.
Fine Gael TD for Sligo-Leitrim, Tony McLoughlin said: “This is a very welcome development for the region given the current long delays in accessing the service and it will hopefully go some way to reducing the waiting times for families needing to use the CAMHS in this region.
“Over the last number of months I have asked Health Minister Simon Harris in the Dáil to ensure that the HSE was prioritising hiring a consultant for the service, and I also requested that he would continue to inquire into levels of care provided in the service in this region.
“Just a fortnight ago Taoiseach Enda Kenny came to Sligo and I asked him to meet with Sharon Boles of the Sligo Childcare Committee, where it was highlighted to him that increased youth mental health services were needed for the region.
“Last week in the Dáil I said to the Taoiseach again that improved resources were needed for our Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in the region to reduce long waiting lists, and I called for the appointment of a consultant psychiatrist as a matter of urgency.
“After working on this issue in the background for quite some time, I am very pleased to hear today that a consultant has now been appointed and that children in Sligo and Leitrim can expect greater access to this service,” concluded Deputy McLoughlin. Part-time
Sligo County Councillor Thomas Healy has also welcomed the announcement that the necessary 20 hour part-time position of consultant psychiatrist has been filled for CAMHS in the Leitrim/Sligo area as of the 13th of March.
The Sinn Féin representative said, "However this staffing measure alone does not reflect the need for this area and must only be viewed as a stepping stone to greater service provision. The HSE must now as a priority fill the two permanant positions that remain unfilled in Leitrim/Sligo's child and adolescent mental health services.
"At present only 87 priority patients out of a total of 348 are receiving the necessary services they require. The fact that 261 children that require a service in the Leitrim/Sligo area are denied said service, because the HSE are failing to fill positions is a shocking indication of the failings of our health system.
Cllr Healy is calling on the HSE and the minister of health Simon Harris to directly intervene on the unnecessary delay in accessing services and to address the scandalous backlog of vulnerable children waiting for professional help. This unneccessary backlog is putting huge financial strain on families who feel they have no option but to go private to get their children the help and supports they need. "261 Children waiting on a service is not a problem, it's a crisis",