Cllr Caillian Ellis has expressed his concern
Co Leitrim national school students have been without the services of a county school nurse for nearly 12 months.
Cllr Caillian Ellis has expressed concerns over the failure to immediately replace the existing nurse who went on long-term sick leave in June 2017.
The school nurse is tasked with carrying out vital hearing and vision screening in national schools throughout the county.
“I have been in touch with the HSE several times on this matter and I have highlighted that the delay in appointing a replacement is simply unacceptable,” Cllr Ellis told the Leitrim Observer.
Although the HSE has recently approved a Public Health Nurse to fill the role, on a temporary basis, the nurse will not start work in the schools until September 2018; specialised training is required to allow them to carry out hearing and vision screening.
Cllr Ellis welcomed the filling of the vacancy but said the delay was “ridiculous.”
“It seems that in the HSE nobody answers to anyone on things like this. It is very unsatisfactory,” he said.
In a letter to Cllr Ellis earlier this month, Dermot Monaghan, Head of Service, Primary Care CHO1 Cavan, Monaghan, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal, said the vacancy is due to a staff member being off on “long term sick leave.”
Although the replacement for the post was approved, in a temporary capacity, Mr Monaghan noted “it has proved impossible to recruit despite our best efforts.”
A Public Health Nurse has now been appointed to commence service in July however the school based service will not recommence until September 2018 to allow for additional training for the nurse.
“Unfortunately there is a delay in acquiring the specialised training required to provide the screening within the schools in relation to hearing and vision,” noted the HSE.
Assurances have been given that this training is being organised “as a priority.”
Cllr Ellis said he is calling for the HSE to put in place protocol which would see these vacancies filled as a priority.
“It is not acceptable to have one unfilled for a whole year,” he said.