Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health

Workforce Planning in the Health Sector (Resumed): Discussion with Fórsa

Ms Catherine Keogh:

On the issue of trust and wanting to be positive, a key thing for our health and social care professionals is to be listened to and valued for the work they do. There is a great pilot in Connolly Hospital where advanced practitioner physiotherapists are seeing people on the orthopaedic surgeon waiting list. This values the work the physiotherapist does and cuts waiting lists, and, if we are simplistic about it, at a lower cost to the Exchequer, which is good. Our health and social care professionals will say they do not have an advocate in the Department of Health. In talking about trust and respect, that is one key thing we seek.

We have talked about Sláintecare and we need to look at the citizen at the centre of this. Obesity is a problem, but we do not have enough dieticians in the community to deal with this early. Every bit should be joined up. We represent home help co-ordinators, who are considered managers in the HSE census figures of managers. They are grade 6 on a clerical-administrative scale; that is just the pay relationship. One home help co-ordinator might manage 106 home help care assistants going into 600 homes. There is great value, but if these grades had a strong advocate in the Department of Health - we have been pushing to reinstate this - it would go a long way to rebuilding the trust the Deputy mentioned.