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10 Aug 2022

HSE acknowledges difficulties in recruiting home help staff in Sligo/Leitrim

Neglect: No more home help hours  for Leitrim

File photo

The HSE has acknowledged that there are ongoing difficulties in recruiting home help staff despite ongoing recruitment campaigns.
Cllr Finola Armstrong McGuire highlighted the problem at the recent Regional Health Forum West meeting.
She sought an update on the recruitment process for new personnel, stressing in particular, the shortage of home help workers in South Leitrim.
Responding, John Hayes, chief officer of Community Health Organisation Area 1, which includes Co Leitrim, said that the provision of Home Support Services remained an important element to support older members of our community in remaining in their own homes.
“Access to the service is currently based on an assessment of an individual's needs.
“CHO1 target hours across our 5 counties has been set at 1,791,320 core hours, with an additional 555,000 hours allocated as part of the winter planning funding 2021.”
At present Home Support Services in our area are provided by both directly employed HSE Health Care Support Assistants (previously referred to as Home Help Workers) and also by voluntary or private providers who have a formal tender agreement with the HSE to deliver services.
Mr Hayes said preliminary data available indicates that service provision should be at least 1,963 million hours in 2021. This represents an increase of 333,000 (20.4%) on the 2020 position.
However he acknowledged that in order to deliver these additional hours, all efforts by HSE service managers and the human resource departments have been utilised to increase the number of Health Care Support Assistants (HCSA) within the Service.
He said that in the Community Health Organisation Area which includes Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Donegal, the equivalent of a further 50 whole time equivalent health care support assistants are needed.
This is just what is required to deliver the services for people on the existing waiting list as at the end of August 2021.
“In addition estimates indicate that a further 125 whole time equivalent (staff) are required to maximise service provision under the Winter Plan allocation,” said Mr Hayes.
He said that the “all avenues for recruitment continue to be fully explored” in a bid to fill these roles.
“With particular reference to the Sligo Leitrim area, a recruitment campaign for Health Care Support Assistants was undertaken by a specialist company called CPL Recruitment, on behalf of Health Business Services/National Recruitment,” said Mr Hayes.
However he acknowledged “this yielded very limited success”.
At the moment the HSE's HR department in Sligo and Leitrim are running a rolling local campaign – without a defined closing date - to recruit health care support assistants on a permanent and temporary contract basis.
Mr Hayes noted that interviews are being scheduled responsively, when sufficient numbers of applications are received adding that this process would be ongoing as the need for new staff continued.

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