• Fri. Aug 5th, 2022

Family support group Kerry CAMHS urges Health Minister to address compensation scheme concerns

ByJulie J. Helfer

Jul 21, 2022

Kerry family support group CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) has called on the Minister of Health to address concerns raised by parents about the government’s announced compensation scheme.

Despite several letters to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly from the law firm representing around 150 families, they say they have received no acknowledgment of their concerns.

The group was created following the publication of the Maskey report which found that significant harm had been caused to 46 children, while caring for 240 children was ‘risky’, while they were in the care of South Kerry CAMHS between July 2016 and April 2021.

A compensation scheme, run by the National Claims Agency, was announced by the government earlier this year.

In a letter addressed to the Minister of Health and seen by The Kerryman, the legal team called for the compensation plan to include other family members, not just children who were over-medicated.

“The most significant shortcomings of the scheme relate to its scope and in particular the exclusion of first-degree family members, such as parents and siblings, from the scheme. The impact of deficits in taking care of children who have attended CAMHS extends beyond children,” the letter reads.

“From the instructions that we have taken, it appears that many parents have suffered circumstances that have altered their family life, including physical assaults, due to the aggression of their children due to the levels of drugs that affect them. were prescribed, as well as emotional and psychological distress. ”

Colman Legal has also again called for the scheme to be extended beyond the South Kerry region, saying they have over 30 North Kerry families who also claim to have been affected, along with others outside from Kerry.

Another letter, still addressed to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, warned that families would not support the program if their concerns were not addressed.

“While families welcome non-adversarial mediation, they will not participate in the compensation scheme unless their concerns are recognized in the revised scheme,” the letter states.

The legal team also raised concerns about the sum offered to families upfront to offset the costs of medical reports and argued that this should be increased to €15,000 from the €5,000 offered in the framework of the scheme.

This week, the family support group again called for their concerns to be addressed.

The group also took part in a planned HSE meeting with families, which is due to take place next Monday. The family support group says the meeting was to be with all the families involved but will now be limited to group representatives only, with further meetings due to take place later.

“…We have always been assured that we want all 250 families to be invited…As of now, no letters have been sent to the families, and we were only told yesterday [Tuesday, July 19] that the reunion was continuing and that it was only for group members, with another reunion being planned for the remaining families in the future. We find this segregation appalling. This means representatives are doing the HSE’s job by having to engage with families on their behalf instead of just a letter of invitation to all,” the group said this week.

Cork Kerry Community Healthcare has confirmed that the first workshop will take place on Monday and that other families will be invited thereafter. They said they “continue to engage positively” with the band.

The Ministry of Health said the government had no plans to expand the program and launched the compensation program for the 240 individuals/families identified in the Maskey report.

Meanwhile, the government this week announced a review of CAMHS care across the country. In a statement, Minister Mary Butler said the independent audit is to include a random selection of 50 cases or commensurate with the medical caseload at CHO/CAMHS team level over a rolling predefined period of six months. She confirmed that a pilot project has now started in four CHO areas. The audit will be completed by the fourth quarter of 2022.