GEMMA BROLLY: CAMHS Waiting Lists A Ticking Time Bomb, As Access To Appointments For Children & Young People Can Take Over 1,000 Days
Following FOI requests for CAMHS waiting times, Aontú Rep for East Derry, Gemma Brolly, has highlighted the shocking waiting times for children and young people for an appointment with a CAMHS professional – which has taken up to 1,000 days in some cases.
Gemma Brolly: “The increased waiting times for CAMHS services has been an a ticking time bomb for years now, and the issue is only getting worse. Freedom of Information requests submitted by Aontú only confirms the gravity of the issue and the worsening situation. The figures I received back from the Western Health & Social Care Trust, and the Northern Health & Social Care Trust show significant increases in both the average waiting times and the longest waiting times.”
“Looking at the CAMHS Early Intervention Service through the Northern Health & Social Care Trust, we see that the average waiting time in April 2018 was 23 days, which has now more than doubled to 55 days in March 2021 – having spiked at 72 days in August 2019. That is a more than 130% increase in the average waiting time in about three years. The same story bears out in relation to the longest waiting times which increased from 59 days in April 2018, to 135 days in March 2021 – but which peaked at 260 days in January 2020. In three years, there has been anywhere between a 130% and 330% increase in the longest waiting times according to the month. The same story bears out in relation to the Western Health & Social Care Trust where the longest waiting time increased from 110 days in April 2018, to 306 days in March 2021. However, despite this being a near threefold increase in the longest waiting times, this is considerable reduction on the 1,013 day long wait for some in June 2020. Additionally, the numbers waiting for appointments have fluctuated from as low as 255 to as high as 625. The CAMHS system is struggling to meet pre-existing appointments and waiting lists, let alone new appointments and requests. The CAMHS system is creaking under the pressure of increased demand, with the needs of young people and children detrimented as a result.”
“This situation is a ticking time bomb, and cannot be ignored by the Stormont Establishment. Cuts to our healthcare and mental health services by the Tories have already reduced our public health systems and services to the absolute bare bones. However, the demand for these services especially amidst a global pandemic is constant but unaddressed. There needs to be an immediate appraisal of the severity of the crisis, and then adequate resourcing approved to dually clear existing waiting lists and times, and consistently meet new demands. Stormont has been negligent on issue after issue, which the people of the North can no longer afford. Aontú has been working hard to engage with CAMHS services and will continue to do so, to provide assistance in improving waiting lists and waiting times for services.”