Seanad debates

Tuesday, 12 November 2002

Adjournment Matters. - Clinical Psychology Courses.


Photo of Ivor CallelyIvor Callely (Dublin North Central, Fianna Fail)

I want to outline the background to this issue of the funding of the postgraduate course in clinical psychology in Trinity College Dublin. In 1995, the Department of Health and Children agreed that there should be a review of psychological services in the health service. For a number of reasons it was not until the second half of 1999 that the group commenced detailed work on its agenda. Given the considerable length of time that had elapsed between agreement in principle to establish the joint review group and the actual commencement of its work, and the evidence of growing pressures on the provision of psychological services, the joint review group decided that actions urgently required to address specific issues falling within its remit should not be delayed by the need to complete all of the group's work and prepare a final report.

As far as workforce planning was concerned, it was clear to the group that, on the supply side, the key factor was the inadequate number of postgraduate training places in clinical psychology. The joint review group therefore estimated, on a preliminary basis, that the health services would have a requirement for at least 50 new professionally qualified clinical psychologists per annum – about 30 training places over the level of provision at that time – in order to bring about an improved balance between the supply of and the demand for qualified staff.

The Department of Health and Children responded swiftly to the requirement for the provision of extra training places. In September 2000, the Department invited bids from all health agencies, including voluntary bodies, to provide additional trainee clinical psychologist posts in association with any of the recognised postgraduate training providers. Since the other existing training providers were not in a position at that time to provide the places within the required timeframe and given the urgency of providing the additional training places, all the increased training places were allocated to the Psychological Society of Ireland's postgraduate diploma course for a period of three years, commencing in the autumn of 2001.


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