*CAMHS. 

99 YOUTHS in Clare remaining on a waiting list for an appointment with CAMHS.

Figures for the end of November show that 99 teenagers in Clare are on the waiting list for CAMHS. CAMHS stands for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and is a service that provides assessment and treatment for young people and their families who are experiencing mental health difficulties.

Of the 99, four have been waiting for nine to twelve months and they are all located in ‘Clare West’. 17 have been waiting between six to nine months, ten in ‘Clare West’ and seven in ‘Clare East’.

38 youths have been waiting from three to six months for an appointment, 33 of these are located in ‘Clare West’ with five in ‘Clare East’. A total of forty minors are waiting up to three months for a CAMHS appointment, the breakdown here is 37 in ‘Clare West’ and three in ‘Clare East’.

Margaret Costelloe, Head of Service with Primary Care at HSE Mid West Community Healthcare told a briefing with local elected representatives this week that they have recorded a “significant reduction in the CAMHS waiting list in Clare in the past year”.

Figures from the end of April 2022 had 45 teenagers on the CAMHS waiting list in Clare. At the end of 2021, a total of 82 people from the county were waiting on appointments with the CAMHS compared with 74 (2020) and 61 (2019).

Speaking this week, Ms Costelloe outlined that “a range of service improvements” have been undertaken across the Mid-West region. She said there has been “strong growth” in the number of CAMHS-registered consultant psychiatrists, up to 6.2WTE (WTE refers to whole time equivalent). 16.6WTE staff have been recruited across the service in a range of grades.

She said that a new CAMHS hub is to be developed along with an additional CAMHS team while additional accommodation has been secured in Clare, namely in the Spindle Unit at St Joseph’s in Ennis. A new dedicated Mental Health/Intellectual Disability (MHID) service for children, based in Limerick and Clare, will be operational from December 2023.

Cllr Ann Norton (IND) stated, “from the outset of CAMHS there always seems to have been problems with a waiting list and then getting delivery of service, I think more focus needs to be put on the area of CAMHS, mental health with young people is on the rise and it is an area we need to focus on”.

Data provided by the HSE highlights “a massive geographic disparity,” Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) flagged. He noted, “85 percent of those on the waiting list are from West Clare, it is a massive disparity”.

In response, Ms Costelloe stated, “the population of West Clare is twice that of East Clare so obviously the referral rate is higher, there are challenges in staffing the West Clare team, we will get further information and feedback directly”.

She said the comments of Cllr Norton would be redirected back to management. “Our waiting list has reduced and no patient in Clare is now waiting over 12 months,” Margaret added.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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