Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has said that the increase in the number of children waiting on psychology treatment since the formation of the government is very concerning.
Teachta Ward was speaking after a response to his parliamentary question stated that nearly 12,000 children and young people were waiting for psychology treatment as of December.
This is a 54% increase in the number of children and young people waiting on psychology treatment between August 2020 and December 2022.
Teachta Ward said:
“I am very concerned about the number of children and young people waiting for psychology appointments with almost 12,000 waiting on psychology treatment as of December.
“This is a 54% increase in the number of children and young people waiting on psychology treatment since the formation of this Government in 2020.
“What is also worrying is that over 4,000 children are waiting over a year for an appointment with a psychologist.
“Early intervention is key and the potential harm to young people waiting longer than a year for a crucial appointment is immeasurable.
“These waiting lists are because of years of incompetence in the provision of mental health services by successive governments, but we have seen a rapid increase in the last two years since this government took office.
“This is not sustainable and immediate action is required.
“There have been large increases in waiting lists in eight out of the nine CHO areas. This must be inspected, and for the CHO area 3, which includes Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary, where there has not been an increase, successful practices there must be adopted nationally.
“We must also address the postcode lottery that exists. CHO area 3 has almost 400 young people waiting for treatment while CHO area 7, which includes Kildare/West Wicklow, Dublin West, Dublin South City, Dublin South West, has over 2,700 waiting. Access to treatment must be based on need, not on where you are living.
“In Sinn Féin’s alternative budget, we called for the funding of a National Psychology Placement Office as well as to fund trainee counselling and educational psychology posts on the same basis as clinical psychologists.
“It is vital that real efforts are made to address these waiting lists. Such deficits in mental health services for children cannot be allowed to continue.”