A young patient with a mental health condition was given a medication recommendation scrawled on the back of an envelope, according to The Irish Examiner.


Her GP was shocked when her mother presented him with the envelope which they had been given after the child was assessed by HSE staff.


Cork-based GP John Sheehan said the child’s mother had presented at his surgery with the recommendation “literally, on the back of a brown envelope”.


He said the lack of a signed letter or a prescription for the medication was concerning.


“Normally, a letter or fax from the HSE in relation to medication is on HSE-headed notepaper, signed, and dated. This was neither signed nor dated,” he said.


“When the HSE is communicating in this way it is a clear sign that the service isn’t functioning.”



The 14-year-old girl had been referred as an outpatient to the HSE’s Cork branch of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHs).


Dr Sheehan said such recommendations for drugs or changes in dosage are standard after an assessment but that the recommendation ought to be formally communicated to the local GP either by a letter with the official HSE letterhead or by prescription.


Dr Sheehan said he followed the HSE’s recommendation as the patient had a follow-up appointment and because he knew her mother was “reliable.”


He said the way in which the teen’s medication had been handled was evidence that “the system is understaffed and overstretched.”


Last month, The Irish Examiner reported that due to a staffing crisis, an out-of-hours assessment service for young people presenting with mental health issues had been indefinitely suspended.



Mental health services for young people in Ireland, particularly in hospitals have been under fire lately.


Mum Frances Crean was horrified by how her daughter Zoe was treated in hospital following a suicide attempt.


Frances explains: “She was treated like a bold child who had had a temper tantrum. Mental health is not treated like an illness, more an inconvenience – God forbid they would need to spend time with you and talk to you and help you.


"What none of us knew at that moment was that my beautiful daughter thought she was schizophrenic, she had some very real symptoms.”


Thankfully Frances and her daughter found help and support at Pieta House once Zoe was discharged from the hospital.