Saturday 22 July 2017

No out of hours mental health services for children and teens in Cork due to staff shortages

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Stock photo
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

A CORK GP has hit out at a reduction in vital services for young people battling mental health problems due to staff shortages.

A letter sent to GPs in the city last week by the HSE outlined "significant shortages" in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAHMs) staff which is having a "significant impact on the quality and timeliness" of services.

As a result the out of hours services cannot be maintained and in some cases patients must be sent to their local A and E department, where they may face a long wait before being seen.

Existing staff are needed to provide services to Eist Linn the CAHMs inpatient unit.

The HSE acknowledges that there will be "unacceptable delays" in a letter , first reported by the Irish Examiner, reads.

Local GP Dr John Sheehan told Independent.ie that it was "frightening" for patients to be sent to an emergency department when they were in the midst of a mental health crisis.

"When you have a 14-year-old that is suicidal sometimes they just need to be seen.

"It's a huge matter of concern for them not to be able to access acute mental health services out of hours.

"A and E is a stressful environment at the best of times.

"If you couldn't send someone with chest pains to the emergency department to be seen, there would be uproar."

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