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Cllr. Cillian Murphy at Carrigaholt Pier in West Clare. Photograph by John Kelly

North Tipp has six times more Health Care Support Assistants than Clare

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The number of Health Care Support Assistants (HCSA) employed in North Tipperary was more than six times higher than Clare in 2021, new figures have revealed.
Councillor Cillian Murphy (FF) asked at a recent HSE West Forum meeting for a list of all the types of home care supports provided by the HSE, and the numbers of staff for each type that are directly employed by the HSE in Clare, Galway, Limerick and Tipperary for the years 2021, 2022 and 2023.
The HSE confirmed there were just 28 HCSA’s employed in Clare in 2021 compared to 176 in North Tipperary and 218 in Limerick.
This improved in 2022 when the number of HCSA’s in Clare jumped to 75, the number in North Tipperary stayed the same at 176 and the numbers in Limerick fell slightly to 215.
All areas in the Mid-West benefited from an increase in HCSA’s in 2023 – Clare went up to 86, North Tipperary jumped to 180 and Limerick increased to 267.
The number of direct hours being provided in 2023 was 27,767 in Limerick, 27,177 in North Tipperary and 12,000 in Clare.
There is also a disparity in the number of indirect hours with 40,863 in Clare, 16,542 in North Tipperary and 36,000 in Limerick.
Mid-West HSE Community Healthcare Chief Officer, Maria Bridgeman outlined home support for older persons is provided through HCSA’s and private providers.
She confirmed recruitment campaigns have been ongoing to recruit additional Health Care Support Assistants and will continue in 2023 and 2024.
Historically, home support was solely provided by private providers in County Clare. The HSE has begun recruiting directly-employed HCSAs in the Clare area over the last number of years, hence the lower numbers of directly-employed HCSAs in Clare.
The HSE are continuing to recruit to increase these numbers further in Clare and across the Mid- West.
“Whilst there are more directly employed health care support assistants in Limerick and North Tipperary than in Clare, the number of home support hours delivered to clients in Clare by both HSE staff and private providers was proportionally higher in 2022 and continues to be so in 2023.
“In relation to Disability services in the Mid-West region, the HSE has no directly employed HSE staff. All home support is delivered by Section 39 agencies and private providers,” she said.
The home care supports provided by Disability Services are delivered through the provision of Personal Assistant (PA) hours.
“The role of a Personal Assistant (PA) is to assist a person with a disability to maximise their independence through supporting them to live in integrated settings and to access community facilities.”

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