Launch of Trainee Psychologist Initiative in South East

8 February, 2024 

Kilkenny was the venue this week for a significant gathering of HSE healthcare professionals focused on psychology services.

Organised by HSE/South East Community Healthcare (SECH), the occasion doubled as a research symposium for colleagues across psychology services in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford and as an official launch of a Trainee Psychologist Initiative between SECH and University College Dublin (UCD).  

SECH Psychology Services were joined on the day in the Springhill Hotel, Kilkenny by their partners on both the UCD Educational Psychology Clinical Psychology Doctoral Programmes.

National Trainee Psychologist Initiative

The HSE/South East Community Healthcare has a long history of working with UCD, specifically the Clinical Psychology Doctorate to support and fund a number of trainees. As part of this, all funded trainees have a HSE contract and the HSE also funds a large portion of the trainee’s university fees. SECH, in close collaboration with UCD, also provide a coordinated approach to the trainees’ placements that reflect each trainee’s individual learning needs as they evolve across the three year programme. The result of this collaboration is highly qualified and highly skilled Psychologists ready to work in the HSE once their training is complete.

In early 2023, each HSE region through their Chief Officer committed to a national increase in Psychology Trainees of 74% by September 2025, starting from September 2023. This is a large and welcome increase and was a clear recognition by the HSE of the shortage of Psychologists in the health service and the invaluable work Psychology do.

To date, there have been seven HSE/South East Community Healthcare (SECH) funded trainees on the National Trainee Psychologist Initiative (three funded via Disability Services and four via Primary Care). Following the launch of the National Trainee Psychologist Initiative and through collaboration with the UCD Educational Psychology Doctoral Programme, this will now increase by 15 additional funded trainees over the coming years. Five newly funded trainees have already commenced in September 2023 and UCD and SECH are currently working to select the next five trainees for September 2024. A further five will be commence in September 2025, bringing the overall total number of SECH funded trainees to 22. This is a tripling of the funded trainee places.

Welcoming attendees to the launch in Kilkenny, Dr. Tom Pender (Principal Psychologist Manager, HSE/SECH Waterford) said:

“This impressive achievement would not have been possible without the support of the HSE’s Psychology management nationally, the Psychology courses in UCD, and a decisive and committed management team here in HSE/South East Community Healthcare. Both of our most recent Chief Officers Kate Killeen White and Grace Rothwell were great supporters and ensured the Memorandum of Understanding with both UCD courses were in place. These documents detail the exact workings of SECH’s collaboration with UCD and firmly commit SECH to the UCD Psychology Training Programmes in the longer term.”

SECH Psychology Research Day

The second part of the occasion in Kilkenny provided an opportunity for Psychology services to share their expertise and interest in the area of research and its links to clinical practice. Through a variety of poster presentations and a number of speakers, SECH Psychology services shared their research achievements across a wide range of research topics, demonstrating the importance of using research to inform clinical practice.

Attendees also enjoyed some musical entertainment from “Inner Harmony”, a music exploration programme and community-based music group from Wexford.

Last updated on: 08 / 02 / 2024