Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Gerry Adams has reiterated his concerns about the resourcing and staffing of the disability division of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in Louth and East Meath and of the Meath Paediatric Psychology service.
Teachta Adams said: “In a recent response to me the Chief Officer for Midlands Louth Meath Community Health Organisation (CHO) detailed some of the serious resource difficulties that this CHO is currently experiencing”.
Gerry Adams said:
“Children who present with moderate to severe mental health problems are seen by the CAMHS service. It is a multi-disciplinary service and the psychologists involved work alongside other related disciplines. Currently only one of the three psychology posts is currently filled.
Psychologists who work within the disability division work with children aged from 6-18. They have responsibility for seeing children with intellectual, physical and sensory disabilities, including autism. According to the CHO there are usually over 400 referrals each year to psychologists working in this area. There are currently five WTE (whole time equivalents) posts of which one is vacant.
The young child whose case Cllr Ferguson and I have been raising has been on the children’s disability waiting list for over one year. According to the Chief Officer of Midlands Louth Meath CHO the waiting lists can vary from between 18 months and two years.
The reason for this is “down to a significant increase in referrals over the last six years to this service in Meath. Also, there have been four staff departures and three staff maternity leaves within the last two years. Due to a shortage of psychologists nationally, and the demand for vacancies to be filled across the country, this has resulted in service gaps over a long period of time with the difficulties being experiences in filling these posts”.
The CHO Chief Officer also revealed that the primary care psychology service which usually receives over 800 referrals each year and provides therapy for child victims of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, is short three posts out of seven.
I have written to the Minister for Health. Very clearly there are very significant gaps in service provision within the Meath Paediatric Psychology service and the CAMHS division. I have asked Minister Harris what plans he has to address the obvious gaps in service provision and to fill the staff vacancies that currently exist.”
Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has written to Garda James Cannon and Meath County Council CEO Jackie Maguire following the surge of dangerous anti-social behaviour on Bettystown Beach.
Deputy Munster said:
“Residents and holidaymakers in Bettystown and Laytown are angry that this problem is not being taken more seriously and have called for a greater Garda presence in the area.
“One lady who contacted me said she was playing football on the beach with her three young children at 4.45 one evening last week when a car driven by three or four youths sped through the bollards of the ‘no car zone’, weaving in between children playing football, only narrowly missing one of them in the process.
“ Speeding past the life guard’s hut they brazenly proceeded to do ‘donuts’ further up the strand without any fear of being stopped.
“The beach was packed with families enjoying the sunny weather at the time.
“A female Garda who arrived 25 minutes after being called was hardly in a position to confront this unruly group of lads on her own.
“According to locals this type of behaviour is a regular occurrence on the beach especially in the summer evenings.
“And it’s not only the %
TD for Louth and East Meath Gerry Adams has received confirmation from the HSE that an additional €500,000 has been allocated across the State to the National Counselling Service.
Earlier in September Teachta Adams had raised the unacceptable waiting times for the National Counselling Service, which provides counselling for adults who experienced abuse while in the care of the State as children.
Gerry Adams said;
“I was horrified to learn that these vulnerable individuals, who were failed by the State when they were under its protection as children, were being failed again through these totally unacceptable waiting times for vital counselling therapy.
“In some areas people were waiting 16 months after their initial assessment to access a counsellor. This is an outrageous length of time for someone who is experiencing mental health problems, has requested help and has been assessed as needing therapy.
“In Louth & Meath the HSE has confirmed that with this extra money counselling has been offered to 28 individuals who had been on the waiting list for longer than 10 months.
“As a result of this additional funding – though it is far too little to meet the need – the waiting list in County Louth has reduced from 13 months to 10 months.
“While it is positive news that additional once off funding has been allocated to the National Counselling Service, it does not solve the problem.
“Vulnerable people should not have to wait for counselling and I will continue to lobby the Minister for Health to invest appropriately in this service.”