Bring ‘Section 39s’ into HSE, says Fórsa

Fórsa has called on the Government to bring so-called ‘section 39’ agencies, which provide vital health and social services, into the HSE for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

The section 39 agencies are independent of the HSE, but depend on public money to provide disability, homelessness, addiction and other services.

Fórsa says they should be treated in the same way as private hospitals, which have effectively been brought into the public health system for the time being.

The union’ head of health, Éamonn Donnelly, said the agencies needed maximum stability in a time of crisis.

“Rather than risk closures and the lay-off of health and social care professionals who are providing vital services, the HSE should underpin the sector by bringing the section 39 agencies it funds under its roof for the next three months.

“Thousands of vulnerable people depend on their services, and the liability would fall on an already overstretched HSE if any of them close or fail,” he said.