Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has informed the Dáil that financial compensation for CAMHS misdiagnosis will be given to young patients who suffered significant harm while under the care of the HSE-run Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services CAMHS South Kerry
A review carried out into the care received by over 1,300 children in the CAMHS in South Kerry found that 227 children treated by a junior doctor employed had been exposed to the risk of significant harm as a result of the doctor’s diagnoses and treatment and that 46 of those children suffered significant harm.
Mr. Varadkar today said there had been “huge failings” in the service provided. Children have been prescribed the wrong medication, or the incorrect dosages, and remained on those medications for too long. The HSE had not put systems in place to monitor the prescribing of medications or the quality of services being provided.
The Tánaiste further informed the Dáil that the HSE had been unsuccessful in hiring a consultant psychiatrist in Kerry and in the interim another psychiatrist would be attending two days per week. He said it is extremely hard to fill consultancy posts, despite salaries above €200,000 being offered.
The HSE has advised that approximately 2% of the population requires access to CAMHS. There are 73 CAMHS teams around the country and all of those teams screen referrals.
There are 74 whole-time equivalent consultant psychiatrists operating in the services, with a significant number of full-time equivalent currently unfilled. Following the findings of the review, the HSE has committed to the ongoing development of quality, clinically effective, and safe mental health services for both children and adolescents.
Mr. Varadkar today said the HSE has apologised both verbally and in writing to the children and families affected and a State apology is being considered. He said, “it is important we put this right”.