Parents call for public inquiry into Camhs’ failings in Kerry

Issues of supports for families affected being addressed, says Cork Kerry Community Healthcare

The HSE is to set up a clinical support team in Killarney for families affected by the mental health scandal in the South Kerry Child and Mental Health Services (Camhs).

It is also working to ensure children and families are part of the governance of Camhs going forward, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare said on Tuesday in response to a statement from a parents group.

The group representing parents of children attending the Child and Mental Health Service in Kerry earlier called for amendments to the Maskey report into the child and adolescent mental health service in South Kerry.

In late January the Maskey report into South Kerry Camhs found the care received by 240 young people over an almost five year period did not meet the standards which it should have.

The independent review team was led by London consultant Dr Seán Maskey, found “unreliable diagnoses, inappropriate prescriptions and poor monitoring of treatment and potential adverse effects” which exposed many children unnecessarily to the risk of significant harm.

Significant harm was caused to 46 children and young people, it found.

In a statement on Tuesday, Kerry Camhs Support Group, representing around 20 parents of children throughout the county said it believes the Maskey report was written too hastily “and without adequate input from the service users and parents affected.”

The group is calling for the report to be amended or rejected and for a public inquiry into both the HSE and Camhs.

“We believe that 46 does not accurately represent the number of children that were seriously harmed,” they said in a statement.

The parents also take issue with some of the clinical language in the report, and say the long term damage to the children is unknown.

“There has been no sufficient time frame allowed to determine the scope of long-term harm potentially caused by the situation and so the full effects going forward is unknown.”

Last week the HSE confirmed that a “sample audit” of fifty young persons’ files attending mental health services, the North Kerry Camhs is to be conducted.

In a detailed statement on Tuesday, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare thanked Dr Maskey for his “in depth, detailed report”.

“We recently published Dr Maskey’s final report in full, and this now allows us to set up a robust process to implement all 35 of his detailed recommendations,” they said in a statement.

Relevant stakeholders were given the opportunity to participate in the review and to share information with the review team, the statement said.

“Throughout the review process, we communicated directly with the young people affected, and their families. Our interaction with the young people affected does not end with the publication of the report and we will continue to engage with them directly.”

In-person meetings were held with those who failed to receive the required standard of care, and the HSE sincerely thanked the young people for the time they gave the review process.

The number of those affected had not been disclosed in the report, the HSE also said.

“Dr Maskey stated in his report that the number of children where there was evidence of significant harm caused will change as new information became available from meetings with those affected.”

If any young person affected has not met with the HSE until now for any reason and would now like to take up the offer of the meeting, they can contact the South Kerry Camhs information line on 1800 742 800.