The first 500 conversions of basic health professional grades to senior grade therapist will take place in primary care over the next four weeks. This comes on foot of a Fórsa-management agreement to proceed with nine HSE learning community health network sites and 48 enhanced community care network (ECCN) sites.
The converted posts, put in place under the health and social care professional (HSCP) ‘career pathway review,’ will be backfilled.
The ‘go-live’ phase of the sites represents an important advance for Sláintecare, and delivers on a September 2018 agreement on the trial of nine learning sites. Implementation of that deal was stalled by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A temporary 18-month agreement for 48 additional ECCNs was subsequently reached last year in light of the need to reinforce community health services after the Covid response came to dominate health provision.
The agreement includes provision for a joint evaluation and review of the learning sites, which will get underway from next month. This will inform the development of more durable structures planned for implementation in the longer term.
Fórsa officials believe that responsibility for discipline-specific cases and the separation of operational line management from clinical management are likely areas of contention in the review. The union also says further discussion on clinical coordinator and key worker roles is needed.
In light of the agreement, which will eventually span the entire HSE, the union has called off any remaining non-co-operation with the learning site and ECCN process. Its head of health and welfare, Éamonn Donnelly, said: “Our efforts will now be channelled into the evaluation process, which we will use to demonstrate and address real and practical issues as they arise.”
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