The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA)  today (Tuesday 22nd May) called for the introduction of Advanced Nurse Practitioners and the opening of a number of Day Hospitals throughout the country as a means of tackling the worsening crisis in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes, said a meeting of psychiatric nurses working in CAMHS from around the country has unanimously agreed that the HSE must introduce new measures to allow faster access to child and adolescent psychiatric services.  The nurses met in response to new figures released last week   which showed that the number of children and young people waiting over a year to access Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services increased by 10% between February and March with the overall waiting list for the service predicted to exceed 3,000 before the year's end if the current trend continues.

Mr Hughes said the figures confirm the experience of psychiatric nurses throughout the country that CAMHS are in chaos as a result of a under-staffing and under – resourcing.

He said; ‘In response to these latest revelations, psychiatric nurses working in CAMHS came together and have called on the HSE to allow Advanced Nurse Practitioners to provide the initial assessment for access to CAMHS.  The nurses also demanded the opening of a number of day –hospitals which would provide an alternative to acute hospital admission for those seeking access to CAMHS.’

‘The current and growing unmet demand for CAMHS in many parts of the country is unsustainable and is resulting in enormous difficulties for young people , their families and the whole community.. The HSE must  bring forward  new thinking and approaches including those  recommended by  Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care in its Interim Report in December last which  proposed that in order to reduce waiting lists nurses should be able to provide the initial assessment for access to CAMHS services.’

‘The opening of Day Hospitals would further alleviate this crisis even further and give hope to those who are desperately hoping for access to CAMHS. Without the implementation of these proposals from nurses working on the frontline of  child and adolescent services then the waiting lists for CAMHS will grow even further.’


Media Contact: Derek Cunningham 086-2430535

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