• Sat. May 14th, 2022

Family support group CAMHS wants a public inquiry

A new support group – set up by families affected by the publication of the retrospective review of the treatment of more than 1,300 children who attended South Kerry Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) – is calling for a public inquiry into the management and governance of Kerry CAMHS and HSE.

The Kerry Family Support Group CAMHS (KCFSG) has also called for amendments to the report or the rejection of the report, which it says did not adequately address allegations of child overmedication. The report was a retrospective chart review only.

The report found that 240 children had not received the standard of care they should have and found evidence of significant harm for 46 children. However, the families believe that the latter figure is not accurate.

“The KCFSG believes that the Maskey report was written too hastily and without adequate input from service users and affected parents,” read a statement from the KCFSG. “We believe that 46 does not accurately represent the number of children who were seriously injured. There is no indication in the report that information from public disclosure meetings was included. If that had been the case, the KCFSG is confident that this number, 46, would have been considerably increased.

“Additionally, open disclosure meetings are still ongoing. It is the KCFSG that sees this as a scoping exercise to conclude what the ongoing side effects may be. In the future, the information collected should be used to modify the number of severely affected children as they would not have been included in the original report.

The group is led by three parents: Maurice O’Connell, who publicized his family’s experience; and two mothers who wish to remain anonymous to protect the identities of their children. They say the report does not go far enough.

“We believe the report does not reflect the serious impact that this gross neglect has already had and will continue to have on the children involved,” the statement added. “The apology offered cannot be considered sufficient as the Maskey report itself is insufficient. On this basis, we call for a review of the report so that it can be republished so as to adequately reflect the real harm that has been caused, taking into account not only the medical aspect, but also the testimonies of service users/parents concerned.

Since the publication of the report, a national prescribing audit of CAMHS has been ordered, while the Inspector of Mental Health Services, Dr Susan Finnerty, is to conduct an independent review of the provision of CAMHS services.

The group is calling for more families to get involved and can be contacted at [email protected]