Sinn Féin spokesperson for Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, says he will introduce legislation today to regulate the Childrens and Adolescents Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
Deputy Ward, speaking ahead of his legislation being introduced today at first stage in the Dáil, said the legislation would give statutory powers under the Mental Health Act, to the Mental Health Commission to oversee the implementation of their recommendations for CAMHS.
“Today alongside David Cullinane TD, I am introducing legislation to regulate CAMHS under the Mental Health Act,” Deputy ward said.
“This legislation will ensure that recommendations of governance and clinical reforms made by the Mental Health Commission can be implemented by the State and the HSE.
“It will also allow the Mental Health Commission to monitor the implementation of any such recommendations and to allow them to publish a yearly report on the progress.
“The introduction of this legislation comes following damning reviews into CAMHS by both the Mental Health Commission and the Maskey Report.
“The Mental Health Commission has made 49 recommendations that the Government must accept and implement to reform CAMHS and improve care to children.
“The first of these recommendations was to regulate CAMHS under the Mental Health Act, which would give statutory powers to the Commission to oversee the implementation of their recommendations.”
Deputy Ward went on to explain that due to serious concerns raised by a recent review he was calling on the government to support the legislation he and his party are proposing.
“Our young people and their families cannot wait, which is why I am introducing this legislation now to start the process of delivering the necessary changes within CAMHS, and to ensure that they are implemented as recommended,” he said.
“Whilst the Mental Health Commission can make recommendations on governance and clinical reforms in CAMHS they do not have the statutory authority to ensure that these recommendations will be implemented.
“That is what this legislation will do. I am calling on the Government to support this legislation as empowering the Mental Health Commission with the powers to improve CAMHS is the right thing to do.
“The report highlighted a large unacceptable variation of the numbers of young people waiting for appointments and the lengths of time.
“Common challenges discovered by the mental health commission included governance, budgets, risk management, digital infrastructure, clinical governance, staffing, access, transition to adult services, vulnerable children, integration, and adherence to guidelines.
“Due to the seriousness of the concerns raised by the review and number of challenges identified, the Inspector recommended that a comprehensive strategy for CAMHS must be prepared.
“Sinn Féin’s legislation will ensure that this will happen.
“Sinn Féin are taking these reports seriously and are proposing solutions to address them.
“The longer the Government are in office the worse the problems become. It’s time for change.
“I am calling for Government support for this legislation as having an independent body with the appropriate statutory powers to make positive changes in children’s mental health is something that should be welcomed by all.”