top of page

Deputy Matthews Seeks Urgent Review of Waiting Lists for Mental Health Supports for Children

Date: 8 March 2022

Deputy Matthews sought an initial report following a series of queries from concerned parents from across Wicklow who have children on a waiting list to see a child psychologist and other related childhood mental health supports. The HSE report indicated that 664 children in the Wicklow catchment area, as of January 2022, had been waiting for over 3 months for an appointment with some waiting over a year. Discussing the report’s findings, Deputy Matthews said:

“I am extremely concerned by the report issued by the HSE, by any estimation, waiting 3 months for an appointment is too long but when it concerns the mental health of a child, it is completely unacceptable. We all accepted extra delays and hurdles during the pandemic, but we are on the other side of that, and this is an area that clearly needs immediate and significant intervention.

“I have written to both Stephen Donnelly as Minister for Health but also Mary Butler as Minister for State with Responsibility for Mental Health seeking an urgent review of the waiting lists and investment in Wicklow services to deal with the back log. These are children who have already attended their GP, been referred formally to seek further specialist mental health services and they and their families are left in limbo for at least three months and in some cases over a year.

“The report did outline that additional funding had been provided in recent months in recognition of the significant wait times, but this needs more than budgetary increases, this needs a full in-depth assessment as to where the shortcomings in services are; how we can go about assigning experts in children’s mental health care to roles in the areas required and immediately go about the challenging task of reducing wait times. This is also about future proofing the system so that once the backlog is cleared, it isn’t allowed build up again.

“Unfortunately, this report doesn’t exist in isolation and the lack of mental health support for younger people in particular in Wicklow is something that I have raised with the Ministers both in writing and in the Dáil previously. During the pandemic, I had the opportunity to meet remotely with a group of GPs from across Wicklow who were despondent by the lack of expert care for their patients and judging by the waiting lists, their genuinely held concerns continue to go unanswered.

“This is not an issue that we can afford to continue to put on the long finger and the delays brought about by the pandemic are no longer an excuse that people are willing to accept. I hope that this matter is treated with the urgency it requires and if there are any specific cases/ issues that I can bring to the attention of the HSE, I would be more than happy to do so. I would encourage any family in that situation to get in touch with me directly, concluded Deputy Matthews.

1 view


bottom of page