Despite the "immense challenge of Covid 19", concern has been expressed in Galway that commitments to recruit frontline community healthcare staff would not be met this year.
However, additional frontline healthcare staff, including occupational therapists and speech and language therapists, are "secure and budgeted for" in the HSE’s 2020 Service Plan.
This is the view of Government Chief Whip and Fine Gael senator, Seán Kyne, who raised the issue with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.
Minister Harris confirmed that the budget for the additional 1,000 staff under the Sláintecare Enhanced Community Care Fund is secure and that a total of 4,000 staff will be recruited over the next four years. He also confirmed that while the Covid 19 crisis has "somewhat delayed the recruitment process", the commitment is being pursued with the additional funding earmarked for 2021.
“There is an urgent need for extra occupational therapists and speech and language therapists in Galway," said Sen Kyne. "I am reassured by the commitment Minister Harris gave to me at Cabinet today.”