Kerry families to sue HSE due to suspected over-medication of young people

HSE reviewing files of more than 1,500 young people who used Camhs mental health service

The review began following concerns about possible over-prescribing patterns, such as young people being prescribed adult doses of medication. File photograph: PA

The review began following concerns about possible over-prescribing patterns, such as young people being prescribed adult doses of medication. File photograph: PA

 

A number of families in Co Kerry are seeking to take legal action against the Health Service Executive following suspected over-medication of some young people accessing mental health services in recent years.

The HSE is conducting a review of the files of more than 1,500 young people who used the child and adolescent mental health service (Camhs) in the south Kerry area, amid concerns about the care given in some cases.

The review began following concerns about possible over-prescribing patterns, such as young people being prescribed adult doses of medication.

A HSE spokeswoman said it is expected its review will be completed in the coming weeks, following a slight delay due to the cyberattack on the health service’s IT system.

Keith Rolls, a solicitor with Coleman Legal South, who specialise in medical negligence cases, said he is representing one family affected by the controversy, who has lodged legal proceedings against the HSE.

Mr Rolls said he had been contacted by more than 12 other families, in relation to concerns about their children’s treatment or medication in the Co Kerry service, who wished to discuss possible legal action.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Rolls said he believed a “chemical solution” had been used for children and young people in the service excessively, due to “a distinct lack of resources and auxiliary services available”.

He said if any families of young people who were accessing Camhs in the area were concerned they should contact the HSE.

Delayed review

The HSE is reviewing the files of young people who attended Cahms in south Kerry between 2016 and last year. After the review is completed its findings and recommendations are expected to be published.

In a statement, a HSE spokeswoman said “while we initially expected the lookback review process to take in the region of 16 weeks, the timeline for the completion of this review will unfortunately be affected by the cyberattack on HSE IT systems.

“The review was originally due to be completed in August and it’s clear that this timeline will be reviewed. However, we can say that the delay is in the order of weeks, not months.”

The spokeswoman said if the review identifies any child or young person who required “immediate follow-up or intervention” they would be contacted directly without delay.

“The team’s absolute priority is that the review is comprehensive and thorough so that everyone can be assured that they receive appropriate care,” she said.