Sinn Féin ready to deliver working Mental Health services in government – Matt Carthy TD
Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy has described systemic failures within mental health services as ‘a humiliation’, stating that the experience of many is marred by delays or access to the system.
The Cavan Monaghan representative was speaking during the debate of a Sinn Féin motion on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in the Dáil last week. The motion mandated the government to broaden a review into the services to include capacity deficiencies, geographic inequalities and whether persistent consultant vacancies have contributed to substandard care.
Carthy told the Dáil that individual managers with the health services needed to be held to account for failures such as those exposed in the Kerry CAMHS scandal.
“Our health services are an embarrassment.
“Within that our mental health services are a humiliation. I say that not as a criticism of those on the front line but to recognise that systemic failures have happened too often and are too prevalent.
“In this Chamber and in this debate, we hear all of the correct things being said by Government representatives. It has ever been so. On delivery, the proof is in the experiences of children and adults.
“For many, the experiences are positive once they enter the system, but for far too many the experiences are marred by delays in entering the system or being denied access to that system.
“For others, the experience of the system has been a bad one. The reports from Kerry CAMHS are scandalous, but they are not new. This specific incident might be new, but the story is all too familiar.
“There is a failure in our health services. It is brought to the attention of HSE management but nothing is done other than the ostracisation of those who brought the issue to the attention of the management. Eventually, the reports are made public and that is followed very quickly by an apology and the rhetoric “we have learned the lesson.”
“Nobody in the HSE management is held to account. That is the most predictable trajectory of any of these scandals.
“Those who failed to monitor the care being provided to children and those who failed to heed the warnings are either moved sideways or left in place; their salaries and pensions secure.
“Unless and until individuals within management are held to account for their failures nothing will change.
“Three Government leaders came together and agreed, without any process, rationale or justification, a pay rise of more than €81,000 per annum for the Secretary General of the Department of Health.
“If the same leaders decided that the Government would prioritise mental health services, as Sinn Féin’s motion calls on them to do, and they were determined that there would be accountability within the HSE, then it would happen, but nothing in the Government’s remarks tonight suggest that it is up to delivering that necessary change.
“Sinn Féin are.”
Speaking following the debate Deputy Carthy said that, as well as supporting Sinn Féin’s motion, government need to act on it.
“This motion can only serve as a starting point, we also need to see the re-appointment of a National Director of Mental Health within the HSE, the end of the practice of placing children into adult psychiatric services, the delivery of 24/7 access to mental health services, and a consistent 7-day week outpatient model for CAMHS.
“Critically, the current health expenditure on CAMHS amounts to under 6%, against a World Health Organisation recommendation of 12%. Sláintecare recommends 10%, and that must be the minimum benchmark that government must secure in the short-term.”