Minister of State for Mental Health Mary Butler has said the Government will “pull out all the stops” and work with private providers to ensure treatment for children and adolescents.
Ms Butler was responding to the closure of 11 beds in the Linn Dara Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Camhs) unit at Cherry Orchard Hospital in Dublin.
The HSE said the reason for the closure was staff shortages, with just 24 posts of the unit’s 51 positions currently filled.
As a result, the beds are set to remain closed until at least September.
There has been a spike in referrals for Camh services in the past year with over 3,000 children and teens waiting for appointments, Ms Butler said, adding the cases were more complex and needed multidisciplinary treatment.
She said such treatment required “a huge amount of effort” for the 73 Camh services around the country.
Ms Butler acknowledged there were difficulties in filling posts for mental health services, with six consultant posts still vacant.
She added that a position in Kerry South, which has been funded since 2016, has still not been filled.
A HSE review along with the census would provide “real time data” to develop services, the Minister said.
At present, 91 per cent of children in need of urgent referral are seen within 48 hours, while there were 11 children under the age of 18 awaiting inpatient admittance, Ms Butler added.