The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Sunday, 24 th June) recent comments by the Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly T.D. that online psychiatric consultations  are the answer to meeting the soaring demanding for access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)  are misguided and completely ignore the potential role for Advanced Nurse Practitioners in assessing children for admission to CAMHS.

PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes said Minister Daly appears to have adopted a defeatist attitude to the prospect of recruiting consultant psychiatrists and nurses into our mental health services, and instead has declared that he is to be a champion for online delivery of psychiatric assessment and referrals for services.

‘The Minister seems to be in denial as to the extent of the recruitment and retention crisis in our mental health services despite the clear evidence such as the exodus of consultant psychiatrists from the South East  and six months of industrial action by psychiatric nurses in Waterford and Kilkenny in protest at under staffing and lack of services. Instead he is now to champion remote video and online delivery of complex mental health services.'

'Both the PNA and  Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care in its Interim Report  last December  have  proposed that in order to reduce waiting lists that Advanced Nurse Practitioners should be able to provide the initial assessment for access to CAMHS services.'

‘If Minister Daly is serious about address  the crisis in services he should  also demand  the opening of a number of day –hospitals/ home based treatment  teams  which would provide an alternative to acute hospital admission for those seeking access to CAMHS.  This would further address waiting lists and give hope to those who are desperately hoping for access to CAMHS' .

 ‘Using and supporting highly trained professional psychiatric nurses in the role of Advanced Nurse Practitioners and  day hospitals/home based treatment  offers  realistic and workable options for  mental health services rather  than relying on the fad of online video assessments and diagnosis  to meet the current crisis.  It is time for Minister Daly to acknowledge that 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.'


Media contacts : Derek Cunningham 086-2430535, Peter Hughes  087-2103514

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