Limerick without early intervention child psychologist for almost a year

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

The HSE has indicated that the vacancy will be filled in April

The HSE has indicated that the vacancy will be filled in April

A CRUCIAL early intervention centre in Limerick will be without a child psychologist for 11 months until a vacancy is filled this April, the HSE has indicated.

This is due to the “unexpected” resignation of a locum psychologist in May 2017, who was covering for the permanent staff member who was on a career break and due to return in August 2017.

The service is located at Blackberry Park, Ballykeeffe.

However, the HSE said in a letter to Deputy Maurice Quinlivan, the staff member then resigned in June 2017.

“The post was advertised in August 2017 and Enable Ireland held interviewed for the post of clinical psychologist on October 5,” the letter stated.

A successful candidate was identified, but she is unavailable to start until this November due to maternity leave.

“In the interim, a locum psychologist has been recruited and she will commence employment with the Blackberry Early Intervention Team in April 2018,” the HSE said. 

The HSE explained that the start date has been delayed as the locum psychologist has worked in a number of countries and Enable Ireland “had to secure police clearance from each of these countries as part of the recruitment process”.

Deputy Quinlivan, who raised the issue with Minister for Health Simon Harris, said that it was “totally unacceptable” for Limerick to be without a child psychologist for 11 months.

And according to figures he has received from the HSE, a total of 953 children are on a waiting list for assessment and intervention at the service.

“That’s a crazy situation, a team of people should be hired to clear this huge black-log and to ensure children and their parents aren’t waiting an unacceptable time for this vital service.”

The HSE said the new post will “help to reduce waiting times” for clients.