Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has said that yet another increase in the number of children waiting on psychology treatment is very concerning.
Teachta Ward was speaking after a response to his parliamentary question stated that over 13,000 patients are currently waiting for psychology treatment.
Over 11,000 of those waiting on treatment are children, with almost 4,000 children waiting over a year for an appointment.
This is a 7% increase on the amount of patients waiting on Psychology treatment between January and May of this year.
The Dublin Mid-West TD said:
“I am very concerned to receive a response to a parliamentary question which states that over 13,000 people are waiting on psychology treatment.
“Over 11,000 of those waiting on treatment are children, with almost 4,000 children waiting over a year for an appointment with a psychologist.
“This is a 7% increase on the number of people waiting on psychology treatment between figures I received in January and May of this year
“This is not sustainable and immediate action is required.
“This rise comes in the same week that I broke the news that the HSE has invested over €38 million over the last 5 years on fees and salaries for Trainee Clinical Psychologists.
“In the same period, the HSE did not directly recruit one newly qualified Clinical Psychologist.
“The Psychologists are there, the resources are there, but the ability and will to hire them is not.
“Ireland is experiencing unprecedented demand for psychological support in Primary Care. This is the first time since I was elected that the waiting list for primary care psychology has exceeded 13,000 people.
“These waiting lists are as a result of years of incompetence in the provision of mental health services by successive governments.
“There seems to be a persistent crisis in the provision of mental health services across the country.
“How can the HSE and the Government stand over a €38 million investment in training psychologists and not hire them despite a pay back clause in the contracts of trainee clinical psychologists.
“Sinn Féin would expand this funding to include trainee educational and counselling Psychologists who are currently excluded from funding,
“In addition to this we would review the panel system of recruitment to make it fit for purpose.
“This government and the HSE have a duty to do better for these patients.
“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.”