The HSE has issued a subsequent apology to a further 16 families after recognising the care their children received by Kerry Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) was found to be “risky”.
The HSE had previously apologised to 46 individuals who received treatment at South Kerry CAMHS after the publication of a report by Dr Sean Maskey which outlined how the care given over a four year period by the service was “risky”.
The report found that doctors working within South Kerry CAMHS had been negligent in their care towards 227 service users, and that 46 of these children had suffered significant harm.
The failure in one junior doctor’s care was the reason for 15 of these recent 16 apologies.
The Maskey Report was published just eleven months ago, and the junior doctor at the centre of the scandal is no longer practicing.
However, he has stood by the questionable diagnoses of these children and furthermore defends his decision to prescribe many of them an antipsychotic drug known as risperidone, used to treat conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Common side effects of this drug include sleepiness, problems with movement and headaches. Bearing in mind the majority of those prescribed risperidone by Kerry CAMHS doctors were of school-going age, it is difficult to understand how this doctor still stands by his decisions.
The recent statement from the HSE described the issues found in the care of those 16 children reflective of the findings in the Maskey Report.
The publication of that report has encouraged an audit be carried out at CAMHS North Kerry, where 50 cases have been randomly selected and examined to decipher whether the issue of “risky” care has spread to the neighbouring region.
One apology has already been issued in relation to the ongoing findings of this audit, while clinical reviews have been called for a selection of other CAMHS patients in North Kerry.
It seems imminent that more apologies will follow as several meetings are planned between the HSE and Kerry CAMHS patients over the coming days.
As the North Kerry audit is carried out, it is evident that issues exists with CAMHS county-wide and are not just because of one junior doctor in the South Kerry service.
There are other clinicians responsible for the care of children in North Kerry, and so it is clear that a broader investigation needs to be carried out into HSE’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, something that our Kerry-based solicitor Keith Rolls has advocated for since the break of news about Kerry CAMHS.
Our firm represents 70 families in North Kerry who have been affected by the scandal, and Keith will be accompanying many of the service’s North Kerry users to meetings over the coming days.
Our Kerry team have advised that “it is incumbent on the HSE to inform the families that they ought to have an advocate present and ensure that families have appropriate notice regarding the meetings.”