Updated at 14:54
The HSE’s national lead on integrated care has told of how a prescription audit by every CAMHS team is expected to be completed in the next few days with a “correct follow up” process to be put in place once the results have been externally validated.
Dr Ní Bhriain told RTÉ radio’s News at One that the families of all 140 children who were “lost” in the system have been approached and mechanisms have been put in place for treatment.
A review of all 20,000 open cases has also commenced, she said with those who have been waiting longer than six months viewed as a priority, it is expected that the review will be completed by May this year.
On the same programme Dr Tom Keane expressed concern that the Mental Health Commission report was based on a sample of only ten percent of cases – 600, this meant there were 6,000 cases that had not been examined.
It was “terrifying” that there remained safety issues about the number of children “lost” in the system where their cases had not been followed up.
Staff within the CAMHS system were overworked. A risk had been identified that when a team sent a response “up the line”, progress was “torturous” and they were not seeing a response. “Nothing was coming back down the line in response to them.”
Finding qualified staff was the main issue of concern, he said. There was also an absence of oversight and accountability. The starting point had to be a full review of all cases, not just the “random selection of ten per cent”. That was a huge workload, he acknowledged “but it has to happen.”
CAMHS needed “segregated” funding, separate from central mental health funding. “That would be a start.”
It comes as Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler has expressed concerns about “significant deficits” in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (Camhs).
She did welcome a new report and said there had been “extensive engagement” between her department, the HSE, and the Mental Health Commission regarding the findings.
Ms Butler told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show that she was particularly concerned about governance within the system and that there was not an IT system in place to cover the country.
She found it difficult to believe that some community healthcare organisations (CHO) were still working off a paper based system.
There was a need for real time data and an independent evaluation, she said, “then we can sit down and decide the best way forward.”
Ms Butler said she would be “keeping a special eye” on governance issues “which are coming up all the time”. The disparity in response times in some parts of the country was also a major concern.