Postcode lottery for psychology services for 18,000 children is unacceptable

HSE Clondalkin Tallaght

Mark Ward TD has highlighted the unacceptable postcode care that is present in psychology services across the state. Deputy Ward was speaking after raising the growing waiting lists in psychology services under this Government. 18,368 children are waiting on primary care psychology services as of February 2024, this was at 8,893 when the Government took office in 2020.

Teachta Ward said “Recently I raised the growing waiting list for psychology services under this Government. “Psychology services have increased by 106% for children since this Government took office, from 8,893 children waiting for a first-time primary care psychology appointment to 18,368. “I can’t stress enough the negative impacts this will have on children struggling with their mental health. “If we focus on the CHOs, the Community Health Organisations, which are the regional structures of the HSE, we clearly see a postcode care service.

“CHO4 which covers Cork and Kerry has 2,744 children waiting for appointments. This is the area where the Maskey report into CAMHS was carried out. “CHO3 which covers Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary has 776 children waiting for services. That’s nearly 2,000 more children waiting in CHO4 than CHO3. “This pattern of different access to psychology services is replicated right across the state “It is unacceptable that there is such a disparity between areas, and these areas are neighbouring. “The Government must investigate as to why there is such a disparity between areas, and best practice must be rolled out over the state.

“Children should be treated because of their needs not based on where they live. “Sinn Féin has proposed universal counselling in primary care on GP referral. We have also proposed the funding of a National Psychology Placement Office and to fund trainee counselling and education psychologists in line with trainee psychiatrists. “To be able to tackle waiting lists, you need to provide a service and the staff to deliver that service. Sinn Féin understands this and has funded this in our comprehensive alternative budget for 2024.

“Once again, we see the Government missing the finer details and not being adequately equipped to tackle the postcode lottery of care. They have had 4 years to improve mental health services but waiting lists have drastically increased and services have been stretched. “We need fresh ideas and different approaches. We need a change of Government. Sinn Féin are ready for this challenge and are prepared to tackle waiting lists and improve outcomes.”

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Sarah Brooks

Sarah has worked in marketing and content creation for many years. In her role at Newsgroup, she is the online editor of with a particular interest in local news and events. Sarah also works closely with our editorial team on our printed editions in Tallaght, Lucan, Clondalkin and Rathcoole/Saggart. If you have a story and would like to make contact please email Sarah at



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