ICGP welcomes the publication of the  interim review into CAMHS by the Inspector of Mental Health Services, which highlights considerable shortcomings in the service. 

We hope this report will be the catalyst to seismic change in mental health services for children and adolescents.

GPs express deep frustration at the high level of CAMHS referrals declined, and the lengthy waiting lists for essential mental health services for children.

23rd January 2023

The Irish College of General Practitioners is the professional and post-graduate training body for general practice in Ireland.

Responding to the publication of the interim review into CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services), the Medical Director of the ICGP, Dr Diarmuid Quinlan, said  “GPs all over the country have experienced the deficiencies in CAMHS services highlighted by this review. GPs are the first port of call for families worried about children with mental health difficulties. GPs refer young people with moderate to severe mental health illness to CAMHS for specialist care. However the experience is that many CAMHS referrals are declined, because of their narrow acceptance criteria. These criteria vary hugely from area to area. The interim review shows acceptance rates for CAMHS referrals vary between 38% and 81% and deficits in access and capacity.”

He added “ In some cases, when families cannot access care, we have no alternative but to refer young people to emergency departments to access mental health services.” 

The Review states that CAMHS teams often lack key staff, especially consultant psychiatrists, are significantly below recommended staffing levels, often work in unsuitable buildings and lack digital infrastructure.

The ICGP’s Clinical Lead for Mental Health, Dr Aoife O’Sullivan, said “We hope this interim review helps address some of the deficiencies in the CAMHS service, which GPs experience on a daily basis. We want to see greater resources put into the mental health services both for children and adults (including the physicalhealth monitoring of patients on anti-psychotic medication).

The  ICGP’s Assistant Medical Director, Dr Brian Osborne, said “GPs see children and adolescents with anxiety, ADHD, depression, emotional problems, self-harm and eating disorders. There are huge numbers of children waiting for their first appointment with CAMHS. Care needs to be child- centred with an emphasis on working together for the benefit of the child and family.”


Issued by: Aileen O’Meara, Communications Consultant, Irish College of General Practitioners. Tel. 01 2542984 / 087 2239830. Email: ICGP.news@gmail.com