Coalition runs rule over alternatives to court for Kerry Camhs attendees

Lawyers indicate contact with more than 100 families in county over possible proceedings

A legal firm representing more than 100 families affected by the Kerry Camhs revelations yesterday said it had started receiving instructions from concerned clients in other counties. Photograph: iStock

A legal firm representing more than 100 families affected by the Kerry Camhs revelations yesterday said it had started receiving instructions from concerned clients in other counties. Photograph: iStock

 

The Government is to explore alternatives to the court process for compensating families affected by revelations of serious harm being done to young people who attended child and adult mental health services (Camhs) in south Kerry.

Any scheme or mechanism to support affected families would need to be scoped out and fully thought through, a source said, adding that options other than court proceedings would have to be considered.

A HSE review was published this week into allegations that young people who attended Camhs services in south Kerry were prescribed inappropriate medication.

It examined the treatment of more than 1,300 young people over a four-year period and found that 227 children, whose cases were managed by a junior doctor, were exposed to a serious risk of harm by way of sedation, emotional and cognitive blunting, growth disturbance and serious weight changes. It found “clear evidence” of significant harm being caused to 46 children.

A legal firm representing more than 100 families affected by the Kerry Camhs revelations yesterday said it had started receiving instructions from concerned clients in other counties.

“We are currently in contact with over 100 families from the Kerry area,” said Keith Rolls of Coleman Legal. “This is increasing on a daily basis and we are now beginning to receive instructions from concerned families in other counties where their kids have attended Cahms and they are very concerned about the treatment they have received considering what we know . . . ”

Yet to receive a response

Mr Rolls said his firm had approached the HSE service about discussing avenues for recourse but had not yet received a response.

“We will be issuing High Court medical negligence proceedings until Camhs and the HSE are willing to come to the table. Although apologies are welcomed at the moment, actions speak louder than words in this sense,” he said.

Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said it would be necessary to provide compensation to the affected families and that initial discussions have been held on what mechanisms could be used.

“These are clear failings in care, clearly not up to basic professional standards so I’ve absolutely no doubt that families will bring cases forward, that they will need to be assessed and that compensation payments will need to be made.”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said there will be a full nationwide audit of compliance with Camhs operational guidelines by teams across the State.

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