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Written Answers. - Psychology Services.

Tuesday, 26 November 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 1

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 339. Mr. Neville Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  the timetable for implementing the recommendations of the joint review group in psychology services which have a bearing on setting up systems to properly fund clinical psychology training in the health services. [23374/02]

 340. Mr. Neville Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  his plans for funding the next intake to clinical psychology training programmes at UCD and TCD. [23375/02]

 341. Mr. Neville Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  the process by which health boards access funds from his Department to cover the cost of clinical psychology training at UCD and TCD. [23376/02]

 342. Mr. Neville Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  the funding his Department has made available for post-graduate training in clinical psychology in 2002; and the location at which these trainees were situated. [23377/02]

[268]

 343. Mr. Neville Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  the number of persons who are admitted to clinical psychology training in 2002. [23378/02]

 344. Mr. Neville Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  the number of vacancies for clinical psychology posts in each health board area; and the percentage of the total amount of psychology posts that this represents. [23379/02]

 373. Ms McManus Information on Liz McManus Zoom on Liz McManus  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there is a national crisis in clinical psychology training; if his attention has further been drawn to the fact that in 2002 over 50% of clinical psychology posts nationally are vacant, for the entire country only one person was admitted to clinical psychology training in 2002 and funding for 12 postgraduates in clinical psychology at TCD did not materialise; if this matter will be repeated at UCD and TCD in 2003; the mechanisms which will be put in place through which health boards may access funds from his Department to cover the costs of clinical psychology training at UCD and TCD; his plans for funding the next intake to clinical psychology training programme at UCD and TCD; the timetable for implementing the recommendations of the Joint Review Group in Psychology Services which have a bearing on setting up systems to properly fund clinical psychology training in the health services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23742/02]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I propose to take Questions Nos. 339 to 344, inclusive and 373, together.

Significant progress has been made in addressing the human resource requirements of the health service in the area of clinical psychology. In the year to end 2001 there has been an increase of over 100% (from 30 posts to about 60) in the number of trainee clinical psychologists employed. The Deputies may also wish to note the significant increase, in excess of 30% (+91 to 380), over the past two years in the numbers of fully qualified psychologists working in the health service.

My Department is currently supporting the provision for the second year of in excess of 30 training places in clinical psychology through the Psychological Society of Ireland's post-graduate diploma. The report of the joint review group on psychological services, published in March 2002, refers to the swift response of my Department to the requirement for the provision of additional training places.

Primary responsibility for the provision of training places to meet recruitment needs in clinical psychology, consistent with the recommendations of the joint review group rests with the health boards, especially in the context of the requirement to better integrate human resource planning with the service planning process. This is [269] reflected, for example, in the provision of funding directly by health boards in support of training places in clinical psychology at UCD. As far as the doctoral programme in clinical psychology at TCD is concerned, I understand that the course has not been cancelled, rather the start date has been postponed in order for funding arrangements to be finalised by the Northern Area Health Board and the other area boards, along with the Eastern Regional Health Authority and other interested parties. This is being undertaken with a view to the course commencing early in 2003.

The funding for post-graduate training in clinical psychology at PSI provided by my Department at a cost of €1.2 million in 2002 has been distributed to the following agencies:

Beaumont Hospital

Central Remedial Clinic

Cheeverstown House

Mater Hospital

Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, Kildare

Stewart's Hospital

South-Eastern Health Board

Brothers of Charity, South-Eastern Region

Southern Health Board

COPE Foundation, Cork

Brothers of Charity, Southern Region

Brothers of Charity, Mid-Western Region

Western Health Board

Brothers of Charity, Western Region

Western Care Association, Mayo

North-Western Health Board.

Responsibility for the recruitment of staff and for monitoring the level of vacancies in the health service lies with the employing health agency. As my Department does not routinely collect data on vacancy levels in individual grades, it has therefore asked the chief executive officer of each health board to provide the information requested on vacancy levels. This information will be provided to the Deputies, as soon as possible, along with the information requested on the total numbers of training places in clinical psychology currently being provided, which is being obtained from the Department of Education and Science. I understand that, following a request received from my Department, the director of the health boards executive has undertaken to work with the directors of human resources in the health boards to develop an approach to facilitate the implementation of the recommendations of the joint review group. This will be undertaken in light of service imperatives, funding priorities and relevant developments such as the recommendations on investment in education and training included in the action plan for people management published earlier this month.


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