MORE than six Whole Time Equivalent posts were vacant in different health disciplines of the West Clare Community Healthcare Network (CHN), new figures have revealed.
The Mid-West Community Healthcare has confirmed the CHN manager post was vacant at the end of November for the West Clare CHN, which covers a population of 70,652 in Ennis, Ennistymon, Kilkee and Kilrush.
A GP lead working one day a week was also vacant, while there was 1.1 Whole Time Equivalent absent in Occupational Therapy Services in this network, 2.1 WTE short in Physiotherapy Services where eight WTE were filled by agency and three more WTE were required in Dietetics Services.
The East Clare CHN covering a population of 33,945 in East Clare, Shannon and Sixmilebridge also had one administrative support WTE vacant; it required a GP lead and had no Podiatry Services staff as this speciality was covered by the West Clare CHN.
Ballina and Killaloe are covered by the East Limerick CHN where there was one vacant WTE post in administrative support.
It required a GP lead, one WTE post in Speech and Language Services was required, .6 of a WTE was vacant in Physiotherapy Services, one WTE was vacant and covered by other networks in social work and .5 WTE in Podiatry Services was vacant and covered by other networks.
Councillor Cillian Murphy asked for a breakdown of all the services offered, and the staffing levels relevant to each of those services, for each of the Community Healthcare Networks (CHN) in the Mid-West region alongside the populations that each CHN covers at a recent HSE West Forum meeting.
The Kilkee Councillor requested the HSE to provide a time frame for the provision of a network manager for West Clare.
HSE Mid-West Community Care Healthcare Chief Officer, Maria Bridgeman said these posts have been offered to people and the HSE had to wait to see if they would accept them.
She acknowledged the HSE had experienced a difficulty recruiting some network managers, but outlined this matter is being progressed and pledged to come back to him to confirm whether the post was accepted or not.
Community Healthcare Networks (CHN’s) are key to the expansion of services in the community as they serve as the “fundamental unit of organisation for the delivery of services” based on
population need and size. Networks service an average population of 50,000 people.
There are eight Community Healthcare Networks across the HSE Mid-West region (CHO3). All CHNs will have a GP Lead and some networks were awaiting appointment of this post.
Each CHN will also have the support of a WTE Health Promotion and Improvement Officer.
The aim of the Primary Care Teams is to provide primary care services that are accessible, integrated, of a high quality and which meet the needs of the local population.
General Practitioners (GPs) are aligned with Primary Care Teams and a GP can make a referral to the PCT on behalf of a patient.
A Primary Care Team is made up of the following core Primary Care Services – public health nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work, speech and language therapy, podiatry and dietetics.
Other Primary Care Services operate across the CHO area on a regional basis and the staff associated with these services report directly to a Service Manager.
Regional services include audiology, ophthalmology, dental, psychology, civil registration and community medical services known as Area Medical Officers.