Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler, TD has today announced the approval of up to €4 million to reduce the number of children and young people under 18 waiting more than 12 months to access Primary Care Psychology.

This funding will enable the implementation of measures and initiatives in Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs) to deliver a short-term impact and reduce these waiting lists throughout the remainder of this year.

Minister Butler said: “Since coming to Office last year, I have been acutely aware and concerned about the long waiting lists for Primary Care Psychology, particularly for children and young people. Under 18s comprise the majority of the total waiting list and as of March 2021, 5,298 children and young people were waiting more than 12 months for a first appointment.”

Minister Butler continued: “Over the last few months, I have been working with the Department of Health and HSE Primary Care who have set up a dedicated working group to develop proposals to address this ongoing issue. I am delighted to have now made this critical step forward in ensuring funding is made available for wait list initiatives in communities across the country. This aims to enable quicker and easier access to psychological support for children and families when they need it.”

Minister Butler added: “There is also a need to develop a sustainable Primary Care Psychology service in the longer term through the provision of multi-annual funding and the recruitment of additional permanent staff. I will be working closely with my colleagues in Government on such a proposal as part of the 2022 Budget Estimates.”