HSE fails to recruit locally for Covid testing teams

Early Intervention Services suffering with just eight testers recruited for six counties

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HSE fails to recruit locally for Covid testing teams

Deputy Joe Flaherty has expressed disappointment and concern at the failure to release HSE staff from COVID testing duties and back to  Early Intervention Services.

He said that  the Early Intervention Service at the Phoenix Centre in Longford is effectively at a  standstill and that some of our most vulnerable children are paying a hefty price.

Said the Longford TD: “I appreciate  that the country is at Level 5 and that staff have been redeployed as per the NPHET guidelines but the reality is that some of our most vulnerable children and their beleaguered parents  have been without help and support  now for seven months.”

Deputy Flaherty  recently raise the issue with the HSE and they advised  that  it would not  be possible to consider stepping back  up normal Early Intervention Services until the country emerges from Level 5.

THE HSE   advised that urgent priority  one children are being offered appointments via tele-health and where this doesn’t work, a COVID risk assessment is undertaken to arrange a face to face appointment safely for client and staff. But said Deputy Flaherty: “It is far from practical or workable for the young children and  there is no doubt but they are being  adversely affected at a critical time in their development.”

Deputy Flaherty said he had hoped that the recent advertising  campaign which sought  swabbers and testers for the COVID project would enable the HSE to release their Early Intervention staff back to their roles. But he said: “I was extremely disappointed  to learn that as of October 15 just  eight  swabbers have received contracts  in the six  county CHO8 area which includes Co Longford.”

Added Deputy Flaherty: “it is important that the HSE immediately  recruits to fill these testing roles and release staff back to Early Intervention duties without delay. We are failing these young children  and their development should not be an ancillary casualty in the battle with COVID.”