Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams TD has described the admission of children to adult only in-patient mental health approved centres as a “scandal that must be urgently addressed.”
The Louth TD said: “The Mental Health Commission report published this week has revealed that 95 children were admitted in 2015 to adult approved centres in direct contravention of the Code of Practice”.
20 of these children were from the Community Healthcare Area (CHO 8) which covers county Louth, Laois, Offaly, Longford Westmeath and Meath.”
Gerry Adams said:
“Under current mental health policy children up to the age of 18 who require in-patient mental health services should only be admitted to dedicated child and adolescent in-patient units.
Last year that instruction was breached 95 times and 20 children from the region that includes Louth were among them.
The report also reveals that the Community Healthcare Area with the highest numbers of admissions was CHO 8 which includes county Louth.
The Commission states that the admitting team attempted unsuccessfully to source an inpatient bed in the approved dedicated child and adolescent centres for all of the children. However, it has emerged that on all dates that children were admitted to adult centres there were bed vacancies. It notes that it is ‘unclear why these vacant beds were not made available.’
It suggests that this may be down to beds being needed outside of office hours or the lack of available emergency cover. None of these excuses are acceptable.
The Commission’s report illustrates how much remains to be done, including the need for independent monitoring of the State’s mental health strategy ‘Vision for Change’. There are also huge issues surrounding funding, or the lack of it. The current level of funding for mental health is still less than the 8.24% target, based on 2005 figures, envisaged in ‘A Vision for Change’.
I have written to the Minister for Health seeking explanations about the admission of children to adults units. The government also has a responsibility to provide adequate funding and administrative and organisational resources to mental health services.”