Latest Laois News: Local TD highlights staffing crisis inLaois/Offaly Children’s Disability Networks
“Major staff vacancy levels identified in Laois/Offaly Children’s Disability Networks” Carol Nolan
HSE services that deliver high levels of complex care to children and young adults with a disability in Laois/Offaly are experiencing a significant staff vacancy crisis.
The information revealing the vacancy crisis within the HSE’s Children’s Disability Network Teams (CDN Team) was provided to the Independent TD for Laois Offaly Carol Nolan.
It is now known that the CDN Team serving Edenderry and Mountmellick has seven full-time staff vacancies while the CDN Team at the Riverside Centre in Tullamore has four full-time vacancies.
The highest vacancy level (9 full-time staff) however was found to be in the Spraoi Centre at St. Fintan’s Campus, Portlaoise. This Team also serves the disability needs of children within the Stradbally, Mountrath, Borris-in-ossary, Abbeyleix and Ballickmoyler areas.
Deputy Nolan said she investigated the matter after growing increasingly concerned that many parents with children who require rapid disability interventions are effectively witnessing a collapse in services:
“It has been clear to me for some considerable time that children and young adults with a disability are not receiving the care that they need,” Deputy Nolan said.
“The HSE have advised that there are prioritisation systems and caseload management systems (including assessment and intervention pathways) in place. But my experience and certainly the experience of the families that I deal with at constituency level is that this does not always translate into practice whereby children with the highest priority of need will have access to services in the first instance.”
“We need a far greater level of understanding around just what the real barriers are to staff recruitment. Minister Stephen Donnelly and the Government are forever telling us that money is not an issue. So why is it then that the HSE simply cannot recruit or retain sufficient levels of staff. What is making the organisation so unattractive a destination for skilled disability professionals?”
“We need to develop real and meaningful insights into questions of this kind because unless we do then what hope do we have of turning around such dangerous and inappropriately high vacancy levels, and, even more importantly, what hope will our children have of accessing the vital services that they urgently require,” concluded Deputy Nolan.