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Psychologist internships latest scandal in abusive JobBridge Scheme – Cullinane

20 August, 2015 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Workers Rights has condemned the news that the HSE are using JobBridge to hire a clinical psychologist to work with its mental health services in Waterford. The advert calls for a candidate with a masters in psychology who will work for 30 hours a week for a €50 top-up on their dole payment.

Senator Cullinane said:

“This is further proof of the exploitative nature of the JobBridge scheme which the Minister herself now agrees is long past its sell-by date. Her assertion earlier this week that JobBridge was introduced ‘as a temporary response to an unprecedented collapse in the economy’ and is now being evaluated at a time that ‘real jobs’ are being created, flies in the face of this latest scandal.

“This is coming at a time when thousands of vulnerable people in this country are on waiting lists for months or even years for HSE psychology services. Áine O Connor, Director of mental health service for the HSE, has highlighted the recruitment of psychologists as a key issue for delays in provision of services. The HSE has admitted that it has the money and the authority to recruit psychologists but cannot find recruits.

“As I speak, there are over 80 psychologists including graduates, on a HSE Psychology Recruitment Panel unable to access HSE psychology jobs due to restrictive recruitment practices that have been in place in Ireland since 2009. I urge the Minister look at this discriminatory and restrictive recruitment practice and rectify it immediately.

“As recently as May 2015 the Psychiatric Nurses Association expressed concerns about Waterford Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services which has stopped taking new referrals due to the inability of the HSE to appoint a permanent consultant psychiatrist.

“It appears to me that our current government has let the ball drop yet again. They are showing their utterly scandalous disregard for those vulnerable children, adolescents and adults afflicted by mental health issues in our society.

“They’ve now added insult to injury and put salt in the wounds of the people of Waterford by offering yet another yellow-pack solution to plug the yawning hole in mental health provision.

“I urge the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, to ensure the HSE use the funds they have at their disposal to employ a full- time clinical psychologist, in a ‘real job’.

“Exploiting another young graduate under the abusive JobBridge scheme, undermining the psychology profession itself and displacing a job at a time of extraordinary need when our Heath service is in crisis, is nothing short of outrageous.”

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