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Vulnerable Children in Kerry wait up to 18 months to see Psychologists - Ferris

11 December, 2007

Vulnerable children in Kerry are waiting anything up to 18 months to be seen by a Clinical Psychologist. North Kerry Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris raised the issue with the Minister for Health last week. Responding to Deputy Ferris' Dáil question Local Health Manager in Kerry Mr. Tom Leonard stated that there are 110 children in Kerry on the current waiting list to be seen by one of two clinical psychologists attached to the Child, Adolescent and Family Psychology Service in the Kerry area.

Mr. Leonard told Deputy Ferris that the waiting list consists of a priority waiting list and a general waiting list. There are 11 children on the priority waiting list. These are children who present with severe difficulties, notable Child Welfare concerns or re referral concerns. The average waiting time for prioritised cases is 3 months.

However there are 99 children on the general waiting list and the average waiting time for the general waiting list service is between 12 to 18 months.

Responding to these figures Deputy Ferris said:

"It is unacceptable that children in Kerry who may have severe emotional difficulties or whose welfare may be under serious threat have to wait an average of 3 months before being seen by a Psychologist. For those children who are not on the priority list the outlook is even bleaker. It is a scandalous that any child, no matter how small their problem may be, may have to waiting anything up to 18 months before being seen.

"I am calling on the Minister for Health and the HSE to ensure that more resources are put in place to shorten these waiting times and if needs be employ more Clinical Psychologists to cater for vulnerable children in the Kerry area." ENDS

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