Lack of child psychology services in Limerick “extremely worrying” – Maurice Quinlivan TD
Sinn Féin TD for Limerick City Maurice Quinlivan has said that it was extremely worrying that there has been no permanent child psychologist in the Limerick Early Intervention Service since August 2017 and that the Limerick Early Intervention Service has now written to parents in the region to state only very urgent cases can now be dealt with due to a lack of staff and resources.
Speaking from Leinster House today, Teachta Quinlivan said;
“Today letters were sent to parents in Limerick stating that due to 'a lack of psychology staff resources and no maternity cover for existing staff' Limerick Early Intervention Service are 'no longer able to provide support' for children in Limerick, except in very urgent cases.
“I am furious at this development, as I highlighted this very problem with the Minister for Health back in February, before it reached this serious stage. At the time I asked why there was no child psychologist available, for an update on the waiting lists and for the Minister to take action.
“No action was taken by the Minister, and he has let this situation develop into a dire situation where all services, except extreme cases where children are self-harming or hurting others are to be diverted to waiting lists.
“The waiting lists were already unacceptably long before this development, and this will certainly make the situation far worse for children and parents in Limerick.
“When I raised this with the Minister back in February the HSE confirmed to me that there has been no permanent child psychologist in the Limerick Early Intervention Service since August 2017 and there will now not be a permanent staff member until November 2018 at the earliest.
"The HSE also confirmed that 953 children were on Blackberry’s waiting lists for assessment and intervention in Limerick alone.
“This was deeply worrying at the time, particularly due to the high number of children on waiting lists for this service in Limerick, but this new development is really shocking.
“Experts stress how important early childhood intervention is for addressing issues in the early stages, but there are 250 very young children waiting between 3 and 9 months for this service in Limerick which is wholly unacceptable.
“This is yet another outcome of Fine Gael’s failed health policy, and I believe a team of people need to be hired immediately to clear this huge black-log and to ensure children and their parents aren’t waiting an unacceptable time for this vital service.
"I intend to raise this directly with the Minister for Health this week.”