Dublin: 67 Children Detained In Adult Psychiatric Wards: HSE

25 Aug

SIXTY-SEVEN children have been admitted to adult psychiatric wards in the first half of this year, the HSE has revealed.

The news comes as it was also revealed that two newly opened child and adolescent mental health units are having to operate waiting lists due to capacity issues.

Both the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Inpatient Unit that opened in Bessboro, Blackrock, Cork, which opened in March, and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Inpatient Unit at Merlin Park, Galway, which opened in January, have been fully occupied.

According to HSE South, there have been 18 admissions of children and adolescents to the Bessboro Unit since March, while a HSE spokesperson in Galway said the Merlin Park Unit had 25 admissions since January.

A HSE South spokesperson said: “Young people have presented with a complex and varying range of mental health needs.

“A waiting list for the unit is in operation. Referrals on this waiting list are considered individually by the multi-disciplinary team with respect to the specific clinical needs of each young person and the priority for admission.”

According to the HSE, the length of stay varies from a minimum of three to four weeks to a longer admission if individual needs require it.

An initial eight beds were opened in Cork with the approval of the Mental Health Commission, but a further 12 will be opened.

In Galway, an initial 10 beds were approved by the Mental Health Commission in the adolescent unit and was increased to 12 in May, with a further three beds planned.

According to a HSE West spokesperson: “All commissioned beds have been fully occupied during this period and a waiting list has been in operation.

“Referrals on this waiting list are considered individually by the multi-disciplinary team with respect to the specific clinical needs of each young person and the priority for admission.

“A national in-patient waiting list teleconference takes place on a weekly basis to facilitate access to inpatient beds at a national level.”

The demand for CAMHS beds is illustrated by the practice of referrals of children to adult units.

Under Mental Health Commission regulations such admissions should only be made in exceptional circumstances and for short periods.

In the first half of this year, there were 67 such admissions, and the HSE has been criticised in the past for breaches of the regulations. In June, the MHC found there had been a significant reduction in admissions of children to adult units in 2010, alongside a rise in admissions to child psychiatric services.

www.spunout.ie & www.teenline.ie & www.letsomeoneknow.ie & www.3ts.ie

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