Press Release

Minister Hanafin receives First Report of Working Group on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

A Working Group set up last year to make recommendations of the development of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has presented its first report to Ms Mary Hanafin T.D Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children. The Report contains proposals for the development of services for the management and treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders/ Hyperactivity Kinetic Disorder (ADHD/HKD) and for the development of Child (6-12) and Adolescent (12-16) Psychiatric Inpatient Units.

The Report emphasises that the treatment of ADHD/HKD is an integral component of the provision of a comprehensive child and adolescent psychiatric service. It recommends the enhancement and expansion of the overall child and adolescent psychiatric service throughout the country as the most effective means of providing the required services for this group. It also recommends that priority should be given, in the first instance, to the recruitment of the required expertise for the completion of existing consultant-led multi-disciplinary teams. The Report also calls for closer liaison and interaction with the education system and other areas of the community health services.

The Report recommends that a total of seven child and adolescent inpatient psychiatric units for children ranging from 6-16 years should be developed throughout the country. It is envisaged that the focus of the centres will be the assessment and treatment of psychiatric, emotional or family disorders including major adjustment disorders, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, eating disorders and schizophrenia using a combination of family systemic, individual psycho-dynamic and medical model perspectives.

The total cost associated with implementing the Working Group’s recommendations is estimated at £90 million.

Minister Hanafin thanked the members of the Working Group for their work and said “This is a most important and timely report. Significant additional funding has already been provided for the establishment of additional consultant-led multidisciplinary teams and for the enhancement of existing teams”. Each Health Board now has in place a minimum of two consultant-led child and adolescent multi-disciplinary teams. The Minister added that she accepted the need for additional child and adolescent psychiatric inpatient units and noted that five new units are to be developed and funded under the National Development Programme (2000-2006). Three of these units are currently at the planning stage.

Additional funding required to fully implement the recommendations will be the subject of discussion in the Annual Estimates Negotiations in respect of 2002.