Dáil Éireann - Volume 590 - 12 October, 2004
Written Answers - Higher Education Grants.
Mr. R. Bruton Mr. R. Bruton
199. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the changes in the terms under which students undertake study in clinical psychology whereby a previous arrangement by which students enjoyed an employment contract has been replaced by a grant; her estimate of the reduced cash value to students of this change; if her Department has entered into negotiations with the union involved regarding these changes; the reason this change of policy was introduced; and if she has proposals to modify its operation as a result of the representations of those involved and their union representatives. [24075/04]
Ms Harney Ms Harney
 Ms Harney:The bursary model of supporting postgraduate clinical psychology training was adopted to underpin the implementation of a key recommendation of the union and management joint review group on psychological services in the health services to increase substantially the number of training places in clinical psychology from 30 to 50 and support the establishment of new courses at the NUI, Galway and the University of Limerick. The bursary model is intended to meet human resource requirements for the health service while securing the best return on the significant resources currently invested in the training of clinical psychologists.
The terms of the model were agreed jointly by my Department with the health boards’ directors of human resources group in August 2003. It is designed to assist students in undertaking postgraduate training in clinical psychology and provides each student with an untaxed bursary payment of €18,000 per annum, along with an annual contribution towards fees of €6,000 for the three years of the course, that is, a total contribution of €24,000 per annum.
In the absence of a pre-existing agreed national approach to the provision of training, some students were previously employed as trainee clinical psychologists on a salary scale with a multiplicity of arrangements in place to fund course fees ranging from the deduction of fees from the pre-tax salary to payment of full fees. The three point trainee clinical psychologist salary scale with effect from 1 July 2004 is €35,372 to €38,691. Course fees ranged from approximately €2,500 to €11,000.
The health service employers agency recently requested the assistance of the Labour Relations Commission in addressing the industrial relations issues which have been raised by the national vocational group regarding this matter and arrangements for a conciliation conference to be held at the end of this month have been confirmed.
Dáil Éireann 590 Written Answers Higher Education Grants.