The HSE has issued apologies in-person to dozens of young people and their families for inadequate medical care after a review into the alleged prescription of dangerously excessive doses of medication at CAMHS, South Kerry (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services).
The official report on the issue has yet to be finalised. A review commenced last April and has examined the files of over 1,500 patients. The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, will be briefed on the review’s findings when it concludes. It is feared that some patients may have suffered significant health problems and a significant number of lawsuits are expected.
Coleman Legal is representing more than 60 of those affected, some of whom have already issued proceedings. The firm has written to the HSE and Mr Donnelly to raise concerns regarding the review process, saying that meetings with HSE staff revealed that many patients’ records had gone missing. These records included details of patients’ appointments and other key information regarding their care.
Keith Rolls, a partner in Coleman Legal, has said that “predominant concern is the extent to which medical records relating to the treatment afforded to our clients are missing. The absence of complete records, for whatever reason, has simply added to the failures and the confusion and hurt for our clients and their families. These patients are extremely vulnerable individuals and have presented to the HSE team to receive the care they undoubtedly need. Sadly, this has not happened to date.”
Dr Seán Maskey, a consultant in child and adolescent mental health at London’s Maudsley Hospital, is leading the review. His team includes administrators, senior nurse managers, and advanced nurse practitioners. The focus is on care provided between July 2016 and April 2021.
The matter was first brought to light in autumn 2020 by a member of the CAMHS Kerry team, who had developed concerns about some of their patients’ clinical care. A sample review of 50 patients revealed findings serious enough to warrant a large-scale review. The Medical Council was also informed of the issue.
In response to press enquiries about the absence of patient records, the HSE said that it had not received Dr Maskey’s final report and was not in a position to speculate as to its contents.