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16 Aug 2022

Flaherty calls on HSE to step up Longford occupational therapist recruitment drive

Joe Flaherty

Fianna Fáil TD for Longford-Westmeath Joe Flaherty

Fianna Fáil TD for Longford-Westmeath, Joe Flaherty has called on the HSE to facilitate the recruitment of Occupational Therapists for Co Longford from an external panel.    

 

Currently the HSE are recruiting for 3.5 posts for special needs services in Longford but haven’t been able to fill the posts from the supplementary panel.   

Deputy Flaherty said: “A fund of €901k was announced recently by Ministers Stephen Donnelly and Anne Rabbitte was targeted to relieve the inordinate delays facing families with children awaiting special needs assessment. The new Sláintecare initiative is aimed at clearing the backlog for children’s Assessment of Needs and supporting the roll out of Children’s Disability Network teams.  

“Some 754 children across the six counties in Longford’s HSE region are awaiting assessment and the recent funding was to enable the procurement of private assessments;  enable clinicians to work overtime at weekends or evenings whilst also enabling the recruitment of additional clinical staff and the filling of posts currently vacant due to maternity leave. 

On one hand I have heartbroken parents in Longford who simply cannot access services and then on the other hand I have health professionals trying to apply for posts but cannot because of the restrictive nature of the recruitment process.” 

The HSE shortlisted an Occupational Therapy (OT) panel in 2016. A supplementary panel was devised in 2018 and crucially those applicants who were on the main panel was told in 2019 that the panel was expired, and it would not be replaced. 

“There is nobody on the supplementary panel putting their hands up for these jobs and the HSE are precluded from advertising the posts externally. I have been contacted by several very experienced professionals in the OT area who want to come to Longford to work   but are precluded from applying for the jobs because of this bureaucratic nightmare. All the time children with special needs are paying the price,” concluded the Deputy. 

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