April 16, 2024
Psychology waiting lists have doubled under this government – Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has said that the government has failed children following confirmation that waiting list figures for primary care psychology have doubled since they took office.

21,132 people are now waiting on primary care psychology services as of February 2024, this was at 10,466 when the government was formed in 2020. This is a 102% increase.

18,588 of those waiting for a psychology appointment are children, with 7500 of these children waiting over a year.

Teachta Ward said:

“Waiting lists for mental health services are only going one way under this government and that is up.

“When this government took office in 2020, 10,466 people were waiting for a first-time primary care psychology appointment. This now stands at 21,132, which is a 102% increase.

“18,568 of those waiting are children. This is up from 8893 in 2020, a 108% increase during the lifetime of this government.

“What is shocking is that 7,500 young people are waiting longer than a year for mental health supports.

“Having one child waiting over a year for vital mental health services is not good enough but having 7,500 is a systemic failure by this government.

“Primary care psychology provides services for people who are experiencing emotional or behavioural difficulties or mild to moderate mental health difficulties.

“We have seen the number of young people waiting on specialist CAMHS appointments rising over the same period from just over 2,000 to now just under 4,000 waiting.

“Minister Butler is quick to cite an increase in referrals as reason to why we have an increase in those waiting for CAMHS, but she fails to recognise it is the absolute failure to resource our primary services that is leading to the pressures on CAMHS.

“If young people get the care they need at primary care level, then they are less likely to need the more acute services of CAMHS. 

“These figures come on top of youth mental health services Jigsaw announcing redundancies due to a shortfall in funding.

“Young people are let down at every stage of mental health care and are left behind by government.

“Behind every waiting list figure is a young person with hopes and dreams. These children are denied their right to reach their full potential.

“Sinn Féin has proposed universal counselling in primary care on GP referral. We have also proposed the funding of a National Psychology Placement Office and to fund trainee counselling and education psychologists in line with trainee psychiatrists.

“To be able to tackle waiting lists, you need to provide a service and the staff to deliver that service. Sinn Féin understands this and has funded this in our comprehensive alternative budget for 2024.

“What we need now is a change of government. 

“We need Sinn Féin Ministers for Health and Mental Health that will prioritise early intervention in mental health and delivering services in a timely manner.”

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