Official figures released to Sinn Fein have shown that across all the HSE regions. Donegal has the most patients waiting for 12 months or more for appointments to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
The data also shows that Donegal has the second highest number of total patients on the service’s waiting lists, despite the county having the third lowest population of all the HSE’s Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs).
Sinn Féin Senator Pádraig MacLochlainn labelled the figures ‘disgraceful’ and said they ‘shine a light on the critical issue of gaps in mental health services and supports for children and young people, including staff shortages in CAMHS
He added: “The waiting figures reveal that here in CHO Area 1, which covers Donegal, we have the second highest number of patients on waiting lists across the State, despite having the third lowest population of all such regions.
“Worse still is that Donegal also has the highest number of patients in the state waiting for a CAMHS appointment for 12 months or more – this is simply disgraceful.
“It’s not surprising however that this county finds itself in this position as last year, the area only had 49.6% of the CAMHS teams staffing as recommended in a vision for change, which clearly illustrates that staffing levels are a real issue for the service.
“As Sinn Féin has repeatedly been highlighting, the area of Mental health is one in which successive governments have continuously failed in their duty to provide any level of adequate service provision for service users. Access to mental health services for children and young people is clearly severely restricted when we consider the waiting lists that currently exist, and the fact that Donegal is yet again making headlines for all the wrong reasons is simply not good enough. Sen. MacLochlainn said the Minister needs to take action to address staffing and service issues in Donegal.
“Clearly, the Minister needs to take action to address staffing and service issues here in Donegal to ensure that these waiting lists are reduced and that service users here in this county are no longer discriminated against because what we have witnessed to date is simply unacceptable.”