HSE Review Exposes Failings in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

Mental Health Reform and the Children’s Rights Alliance are today reacting with concern to the review into allegations that young people who attended South Kerry Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services were prescribed inappropriate medication.

The review, published by the Health Service Executive today, has examined the treatment of more than 1,300 young people who attended the services between July 2016 and April 2021. Findings show that 227 children were exposed to the risk of significant harm.

Fiona Coyle, CEO, Mental Health Reform said: “The review has exposed a serious lack of clinical oversight in our mental health services. This has caused great distress to the children and families involved directly. It is also giving rise to concerns for children and families accessing mental health services across the country. Each and every child who uses mental health services deserves appropriate care and support. We urge the Minister of Health to put in place a national review to ensure that our services are complying with the highest standards of care.

It is crucial that additional support, including advocacy support is made available to those affected.  We are calling for a national advocacy service for children to ensure that the rights of children and young people accessing mental health services are respected and protected.”

Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of Children’s Rights Alliance, said: “This is an extremely concerning report. Significant harm has been caused to children down to lack of supervision, staffing and poor practices. It is simply not good enough that individual practice caused such a negative ripple effect to so many. Why did the systemic checks and balances not unearth this bad practice sooner? Why did it take a whistle-blower to reveal the truth? Children should be able to trust our mental health system in their hour of need. These families have been seriously let down and we must do all we can to fix the system so this kind of thing never happens again.”


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