CAMHS staffing issues being worsened by recruitment ban – Pringle

Donegal TD Thomas Pringle is making a pre-budget submission to Minister Paschal Donohoe seeking funding to address what he terms the “significant and persistent” problem of vacant posts within Child and Adolescent Mental Health services in Donegal.

Deputy Pringle says the current situation is taking ‘two steps forward and one step back’, with the historic difficulty in recruiting staff now exacerbated by what he believes is an effective recruitment ban.

Deputy Pringle says CAMHS, the Child And Adolescent Mental Health Service, has never been fully staffed, and the situation is worsening…………….

Deputy Pringle’s statement in full –

Independent TD for Donegal Thomas Pringle received correspondence from the HSE stating what he claims reveal the “significant and persistent” problem of vacant posts within Child and Adolescent Mental Health services in Donegal and describing the recruitment situation progressing ‘two steps forward and one step back’.

Deputy Pringle who has been monitoring vacancies within CAMHS writing to the HSE seeking a current update and received confirmation of current vacancies both in May and in August this year. 

Deputy Pringle says “I received a reply this week indicating that as of August 2019 in Donegal, the CAMHS team have two out of three Consultants in place – One permanent and one locum. According to the HSE the third Consultant is currently on leave from July to December 2019 and the HSE is currently aiming to recruit a locum replacement for this period”.

“As I understand it the recruitment process under the Management of the medical manpower office CHO1 is leading on this with the local Business Manager in Donegal Mental Health Service. Current approved funded vacancies are as follows: a Consultant Psychiatrist to cover Dr. Lingeswaran; 1.5 WTE NCHD’s; 1 Occupational Therapist; 2 Clinical Nurse Specialists – one more clinical nurse post vacant since May.

“Since the HSE’s reply to me in May it’s evident that vacancies within CAMHS remain persistent including a new vacancy for a non-consultant hospital doctor for one and a half whole time equivalent (WTE) and an additional vacancy for a Clinical Nurse Specialist.  Furthermore, recruitment for an Occupational Therapist is still ongoing.

“I have been monitoring vacant posts for a while now and unfortunately there’s been no improvement on the situation for mental health services, which as we know has been suffering the worst in terms of staff recruitment and retention.

“This indicates an escalating problem with recruitment and retention within CAMHS which is worrying against the backdrop of HSE overspends and Budget 2020 on the horizon which the Government may use to rectify the health deficit. We need CAMHS to be a priority in the upcoming Budget, despite Brexit and other developments looming.

 “I intend to make a pre-Budget submission on the issue of significant and persistent vacancies within CAMHS in Donegal and will confront the Minister on this issue as soon as the Dáil resumes in September” concludes Pringle.