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Statement by the IHCA on the South Kerry CAMHS Review and Compensation Scheme

Commenting on the South Kerry CAMHS Review and Compensation Scheme, the President of the IHCA, Professor Alan Irvine said:

“The consequences of the resourcing crisis in our health system were cruelly exposed at the South Kerry Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

“Vulnerable children who depend on our health service were badly let down. These children and their families needlessly suffered. They continue to pay a heavy price.

“Page five of the Maskey Report into South Kerry CAMHS highlighted that the absence of a permanent Consultant Clinical Lead for five years contributed to the failure to deliver and sustain a high-quality service at CAMHS.

“Presently, there are over 800 Consultant posts across our health system either vacant or not filled on a permanent basis. 33 out of 114 permanent Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Consultant posts are unfilled in CAMH services across Ireland. The filling of all these posts on a permanent basis is essential for the provision of safe, adequately supervised services. Much of this is down to a 2012 Government decision to pay newly qualified Consultants less than those who qualified before them, even though they do the very same job.

“People who use our health system should expect safe, timely care. Those who go to work every day in our hospitals should expect basic resource support to do their jobs properly. Yet here we are.

“Taxpayers will also pay a price for what was an avoidable failure in Kerry under a Government approved compensation scheme which will see pay-outs in excess of €20 million to over 240 families. For the harm caused, such compensation is warranted, though financial compensation can never make-up for what happened.

“The proposed CAMHS compensation underlines once more the false economy that can exist in our health system. Failing to recruit highly qualified professionals will inevitably lead to patient harm, poor clinical outcomes, and expose the State to high compensation costs. It is no way to organise a functional service.”

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