December 2, 2012 by John Buckley
In the Budget for 2012, the government allocated €35million for improvements to the mental health service provision. This translated to hundreds of new posts including psychologists. These positions were due to be in place this year, they are not.
Yesterday I spoke to a newly trained and qualified clinical psychologist. The person in question, along with 60 others, recently qualified via a scheme paid for by the HSE. The psychologists are funded to complete their training and are then contracted by the HSE for 3 years after training. Earlier this year many of them and other mental health professionals were interviewed for the jobs promised as a result of the €35million budget allocated in December 2011.
Yesterday the psychologist I spoke to revealed that many professionals were interviewed and accepted for these positions in October 2012. They are ready to start working. This person though technically is currently unemployed. The HSE have given no start date or indication of a start date.
There are people ready and waiting to go into these jobs that a clear budget has been allocated for. What is the hold up? Is it that the €35million has gone to prop up other areas of the HSE?
While we wait what is happening? It’s simple, people aren’t getting the support they have a right to. These mental health professionals want to start working now. They are ready and have been for 2 months. What could have been achieved in those two months? Reductions in waiting lists, clinical support being provided and potentially less people would have died.
In 2011 525 died by suicide. From those figures potentially in the last two months, 87 people will have died by suicide. All the while mental health professionals are interviewed and ready to support, but they are being blocked from doing so.