Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has criticised both the HSE and the Minister for Health over the on-going disruption to respite services provided to children and adults at Seaview House in Mountcharles due to staffing shortages at the facility.
Deputy Doherty, who has repeatedly raised the issue with Minister Harris during Dáil business, has now been informed by the HSE that, despite efforts to fill vacancies at the centre over recent months, the withdrawal of a candidate who had been selected to fill one of three vacant nursing posts has meant that recruitment is likely to be delayed by another number of weeks.
Reacting to the latest news, Deputy Doherty said:
“The issue of staffing shortages at Seaview House in Mountcharles has been on-going now for many months and, while the HSE and the Minister for Health continue to advise that they are working to try to recruit and replace staff there, respite services have yet to fully resume, but have been recommenced on a phase basis only since the end of May.
“The facility, which opened in 2001 and provides respite for children and adults with intellectual disabilities in south Donegal, is such an important care provider in the area and reports which I’ve received indicate that service users and their loved ones find the care provided at Seaview House to be invaluable and of such a high standard.
“However, service users and their families have continued to contact me to express their concerns regarding the curtailment of services at the centre, where previously respite sessions had taken place regularly every few weeks prior to these service disruptions.
“In January, the Government admitted that there were staff shortages at the centre due to staff transfers and retirements and that this had resulted in service curtailment.
“In recent weeks, I have repeatedly been raising this issue in the Dáil, and I have pressed the Minister to outline when full services would resume at Seaview House.
“I have now been informed by the HSE that despite efforts to recruit personnel to a number of vacancies at the unit, the subsequent withdrawal of a candidate who had been selected to fill one of three vacant nursing posts has now meant the recruitment is likely to be delayed by another two months at the least.
“What this means is that staffing levels are still not where they need to be in order to ensure that the centre can recommence respite services fully.
“While I understand that offers of service are currently being issued to families, the HSE has advised that emergency respite may need to be sought from other facilities where Seaview House is unable to accommodate such requests due to present capacity issues.
“Clearly, the delays and continuing disruptions which service users and their families have experienced throughout this year is simply not good enough, and I am again seeking urgent answers from both the HSE and the Minister in relation to this matter.
“Furthermore, and in an effort to provide clarity to the families affected, I have also requested additional information from the Minister for Health regarding budget allocations made to the centre over recent years, and for status updates concerning the on-going recruitment process.”Tags: