Fórsa wrote to the HSE this week to begin preparations for the next phase of implementation of the Advanced Interim Report on HSCP Career Pathways. The independent report, published last December and accepted by Fórsa and the HSE, recommends the automatic conversion from basic grade to senior grade for health and social care professionals who have completed five years’ validated competent service.
The report recommends that the agreed process be applied right across the HSE.
Fórsa’s head of health and welfare, Éamonn Donnelly, has sought a formal meeting with the national health body to discuss how to proceed with the remaining recommendations in the report, including the process of applying the conversion process for HSCPs throughout the HSE.
It’s equally important that the initiative now moves across the HSE, as it’s simply unsustainable to have a system of conversion in one area alone. That’s why we’ve sought an immediate engagement with the HSE.
Éamonn acknowledged that the current circumstances in primary care are quite different to other sections of health services.
“Due to the immediate needs, as a swathe of newly created posts at senior grade level are being processed, there is a heavy reliance on the basic to senior grade conversion process, in conjunction with residual live panels to fill these posts. Such circumstances are unique to primary care at this time,” he said.
He said discussions with the HSE should take account of how the agreed conversion process helps to retain workforce stability in particular areas of need, and how that stability maintains continuity between therapists and service users. He also emphasised the need for discussions to take account of “the very different circumstances which apply in areas outside primary care which also have critical service needs.”
“The implementation of the conversion to senior grades, for HSCPs in primary care, illustrates genuine added value to the continuity of care. It’s especially welcome that this is taking place in primary care.
HSCPs play a pivotal role in this healthcare setting, which removes pressure from the acute hospitals sector in favour of community-led treatments and processes. Retention of staff and continuity of care are therefore crucial, and the career pathway process ensures both.
“But it’s equally important that the initiative now moves across the HSE, as it’s simply unsustainable to have a system of conversion in one area alone. That’s why we’ve sought an immediate engagement with the HSE,” he said.
The process for the first 500 conversions of basic health professional grades to senior grade therapist commenced in primary care last September, with converted posts to be backfilled arising from the immediate and specific needs in primary care with the roll-out of enhanced community care networks (ECCNs).
This followed a Fórsa-management agreement to proceed with nine HSE learning community health network sites and 48 ECCN sites.
“HSCPs play a pivotal role in this healthcare setting, which removes pressure from the acute hospitals sector in favour of community-led treatments and processes. Retention of staff and continuity of care are therefore crucial, and the career pathway process ensures both.
Fórsa is confident that this process will prove to be equally valuable elsewhere in our health services,” Éamonn added.
Details of Fórsa’s HSCP career information session, taking place on Tuesday 2nd November at 2pm, are available here.
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