Fórsa has told health department officials that the appointment of a senior advisor on health and social care is vital to the successful rollout of the ten-year Sláintecare programme for improved health services.
The union says health and social care professionals (HSCP) must be at the centre of the community-based primary care services promised in the health reform initiative, which has cross-party support.
Fórsa leaders met health officials last week to discuss a range of HSCP issues. The meeting came on foot of health minister Simon Harris’s appearance at Fórsa’s HSCP conference in February.
The HSE recently appointed a senior advisor in the field, but a similar post in the Department of Health has been vacant for some years. Fórsa understands this was a casualty of the crisis-era recruitment embargo, rather than a policy decision to abolish the post.
Fórsa national secretary Éamonn Donnelly told senior health officials that the appointment was a practical necessity and a test of Government commitment to quality services in communities and hospitals.
“The number of health and social care professionals is projected to increase to almost 20,000 under Sláintecare. The health department needs a senior advisor to coordinate policy in this area and to bring HSCP expertise and experience to broader health service policy-making,” he said.