Recruitment of New Staff for Primary Care

Dr. James Reilly TD, Minister for Health today (17th July 2012) announced the planned recruitment of over 270 new staff to work in Primary Care.

Minister Reilly stated that “key frontline staff will be recruited, funded by a special allocation of €20m which was set aside as part of the HSE’s 2012 National Service Plan to fill posts in Primary Care”.

The funding will provide for the employment of 17 Clinical Nurse Specialists to support the Integrated Care Diabetes Programme and some 255 other Primary Care Team posts, including Public Health Nurses, Registered General Nurses, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists.

The HSE has analysed the current provision of posts in proportion to total population and population health needs with reference to the Haase-Pratschke Deprivation Index to identify which areas are least well served. The Primary Care posts will be allocated to the areas most in need, taking into account the Deprivation index and other key criteria such as the size and composition of relevant waiting lists and the resources available in other health facilities within the individual areas.”

Minister Reilly said “at a time of scarce national resources, it is essential that such posts should be targeted at areas of greatest need”. The Minister added “this announcement underlines the Government's commitment to improving health services by not only providing the funding available but also by ensuring that effective strategies are used to guarantee that the posts are allocated according to a broad assessment of needs. As part of the process of strengthening primary care, a number of key outcomes measurements will also be introduced.”

Central to the modernisation of the Irish health service is the development of a greater range and volume of community based services and the growth of the multi-disciplinary team model to strengthen and enhance Primary Care services. The recruitment of additional staff to Primary Care Teams will be instrumental in creating an environment which enables structured approaches to chronic disease management, enhanced multi-disciplinary team working, and the integration of services between primary and secondary care.

This shift in emphasis to community based services is good for patients, clients, health professionals, acute hospitals and it delivers the best value.