Friday, August 06, 2010

Want to become a Clincial Psychologist? It's just got a lot harder ...

Yet more stealth cuts to education and mental health as outlined by this post on

The full post is as follows ...

"I am no authority on anything that has been posted in this thread so far. But I thought I would post this personal anecdote I have experienced in the last couple of days.

Clincial psychologists are in desperate need in Ireland. Mental health services have been clearly identified as an area that needs drastic improvement in Ireland. Anyway, the training to become a clincial psychologist takes 3 years. It is extremely competitive to get onto a course. If 1000 people apply to an institution (UCD, Trinity, UL, UCG) 10 will get offered a place. The programme is basically 6 cycles of 6 weeks of classes and 4 months of work at the coalface working in hospitals and other institutions in Ireland. Those who apply are not "students" really. They will never be any younger than 25, will have a masters and will have a number of years experience working as an assistant psychologists, a psychology researchers etc. Most applicants apply a number of times before successful application. Many, of course never get onto a course. If you are successful the deal is this:

You are paid about 35000 a year for the 3 years. A decent salary for sure. But considering the age and qualifications of candidates and the competitiveness for places it is not a massive amount of money (but a fair salary). The HSE pays for 60% of your university fees (which can be between 10-14,000 per year), you pay the rest from savings or your salary. In return for the HSE paying 60% of your salary, you commit to working with them for another 3 years after your training and it has to be in the very same health board (mid-west etc). This is a very similar to the system in the UK except they get paid a bit less, but have fees fully paid for and dont have the same restrictive work practices after training.

This years intake will be starting in 3-5 weeks (depending on the university). The candidates have just been notified that they will have to pay full fees, upfront. So with 3 weeks notice they are being told that they dont have to pay 5000-6000 fees for the year ahead but 12-14000. They would earn 60% of this back pro rata as they work their 3 years with the healthboard after training.

Considering many who apply for such a position have young families and would be coming back from working abroad to take these positions its a massive thing to be told 3 weeks before you start that you will be doing so with 42000 worth of depth hanging around your nexk for 3 years. With giving people just 3 weeks notice it seems a desperate and deceitful ploy by the HSE to save some money at the last minute or people are only realising on a week to week basis just how ********************ed some of our budgetary problems are.

Technically it is not a cut. They will pay the money (just 4-6 years later). But the timing and method in which it has been done is very stealthy and a direct attempt to quickly save alot of money - there would potentially be 40-50 people starting at 4 Universities in Ireland in 3-5 weeks time. 50 times 60% of 14000 is over 400,000 euro.

The timing rather than the nature of the new deal is the big issue here.

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