HSE publishes National Audit on Prescribing in CAMHS

The HSE today, (Friday 28th July 2023), published a National Audit of Prescribing in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). The findings of this independent audit were largely positive, which should provide reassurance to those attending CAMHS services. The audit found that, in the main, there was no evidence of over-prescribing and that most patients (95%) had their medication prescribed by a consultant or in consultation with a consultant.

The audit covered all CAMHS teams nationwide as a result of the ‘Maskey Report’ which highlighted that CAMHS care in South Kerry did not meet adequate standards in the areas of care planning, diagnostic accuracy and medication prescribing.

Speaking about the audit findings Dr Siobhan Ni Bhriain, Consultant Psychiatrist and HSE Lead for Integrated Care said: “We know that medication remains an important intervention in helping some young people with moderate to severe mental illness to recover and we are very aware of the importance of monitoring medications. For young people attending CAMHS, medication is rarely used alone, it is usually in combination with psychological and social treatments. This audit found less than 50 percent of children attending CAMHS were prescribed medication with 95% of those having their medication prescribed by a consultant or in consultation with a consultant.

“Through our Child and Youth Mental Health Improvement Programme we remain committed to strengthening the clinical governance across all of our CAMHS services.”

The HSE is now addressing recommendations of the audit report, which include;

  • immediate implementation of IT systems for patient records in CAMHS which will make future auditing easier and more robust and will facilitate timely communication with GPs
  • development of national guidelines for prescribing psychotropic medication
  • Pharmacy expertise to be incorporated into CAMHS
  • Implementation of clear pathways for physical health monitoring of children on medication.

A National Drugs and Therapeutics Committee will be established and will conduct ongoing / additional audits.

The interim and final Mental Health Commission reports on CAMHS point to deficits and shortcomings in the service provided to children and families. The HSE acknowledges these and have a Child and Youth Mental Health Service Improvement Programme in place to address these issues.  Actions underway include the establishment of a new national office for Child and Youth Mental Health to lead out on this programme and provide leadership, oversight and enhanced governance to services.  A Clinical Lead for Youth Mental Health (CAMHS psychiatrist) has already been appointed and a National Lead will be in place to drive the service improvement programme.

View or download a copy of the National Audit on Prescribing in CAMHS here.

Last updated on: 28 / 07 / 2023