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Post pulled by the HSE as recruitment freeze goes on resulting in longer waiting times for patients

Experienced physiotherapists were told last week vacant positions offered out had now been cancelled.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/Lighthunter

THE HSE HAS said that a vacant post – that isn’t being filled due to the ongoing recruitment freeze in sections of the service – is resulting in longer waiting times for patients seeking physiotherapy treatment. 

Some patients have had their appointments cancelled due to the ongoing impasse, which the freeze affecting positions all over the country. 

Last week, TheJournal.ie reported that the HSE sought out experienced physios from a panel to fill a vacant position in the west of Ireland but had then pulled due to the “controls” in place on recruitment. This also happened last week for physio posts in Leinster.

The freeze, which has been in operation since the end of March, is affecting prospective candidates in a variety of areas, such as physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and clerical workers.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has warned that patients were being put at risk due to the block in certain positions. “Before the ban, we had understaffing and overcrowding. Refusing to fill vacant posts is adding fuel to the flames,” it said.

The Galway Advertiser reported last month that almost 60 people are waiting up to 26 weeks treatment, with 11 waiting up to a year. At a meeting of the HSE’s Health Forum West, chief office of Community Healthcare West Tony Canavan told attendees that financial constraints were behind the delays in filling positions. 

A spokesperson for HSE Community Healthcare West told TheJournal.ie: “People whose appointments have been cancelled have been informed. Patients with the highest clinical need will be offered an appointment in Galway city and other patients will be offered appointments when the post is replaced.

This vacant post is resulting in longer waiting times for patients. The service gap is being filled by higher working loads for existing staff. The post is not being filled by the use of agency staff.

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Sean Murray

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