Update on Public Health Nursing Services in Drimnagh4th April 2023
Following recent reports of the withdrawal of Public Health Nursing Services from the Curlew Road Road HSE Health Centre, the DRA wrote to the Minister for Health .
Here is the reply we received:
“On behalf of the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly T.D., I would like to thank you for your correspondence in relation to Public Health Nursing Services in Drimnagh. Upon receipt of your correspondence, colleagues in the Department requested and update on the matter and I can now report the following.
The Public Health Nursing service in Dublin South-West, including Drimnagh, is currently dealing with significant staff shortages. These shortages are mainly due to reductions in the availability of staff due to retirement, internal movement and leave. Despite ongoing campaigns, the recruitment of Public Health Nurses continues to prove particularly challenging for the Dublin South-West area. The HSE has assured the Department that, despite these difficulties, it continues to make every effort to provide the required nursing services to the population.
To ensure that any impact of these staff shortages on service provision is kept to a minimum, the HSE has advised that the Public Health Nursing service in Dublin South-West has taken the decision to pool resources as a short-term mitigation measure. Public Health Nursing services will be consolidated in Armagh Road, with a satellite clinic to be provided in Curlew Road. It is expected that the provision of this satellite clinic will ensure minimal impact on service users. It is also important to note that this change will see no impact to those receiving domiciliary nursing services. However, the Department would encourage any service users with specific concerns regarding the impact of the relocation of nursing services to contact the local Public Health Nursing service directly.
The HSE expects this short-term mitigation measure to commence the week of April 3, 2023, and all service users and relevant stakeholders will be contacted in advance of this date. Importantly, the HSE has advised that this measure will be subject to daily monitoring to ensure continuity of care and to manage risk. The HSE has also advised that, as and when staffing levels increase, nursing staff will return to Curlew Road. The HSE has also confirmed that occupational therapy services, dietetics and addiction services all continue to be provided from Curlew Road Health Centre.
The Minister and the Department fully acknowledge your concern and disappointment at the short term relocation Public Health Nurses from Curlew Road Health Centre to Armagh Road Primary Care Centre due to shortages in nursing staff.
The Department acknowledges that more needs to be done to tackle the long-term challenges of recruitment, including the provision of community nursing. In response to these broader challenges, the HSE established a Community Nursing National Oversight Group last year. The group is tasked with developing proposals and recommendations which will aim to address issues in the recruitment and retention of Public Health Nurses and Community Registered General Nurses.
In addition, Minister Donnelly secured annual funding of €195 million in Budget 2023 to ensure the continued rollout of the Enhanced Community Care (ECC) Programme. An important element of the ECC programme is the expansion of primary care capacity with approximately 3,500 additional staff to be recruited overall. Of these, it is expected that around 1,900 will be recruited to Primary Care Teams within the Community Healthcare Networks (CHNs), with particular focus on recruiting more nursing staff, Occupational Therapists, Speech & Language Therapists and Physiotherapists.
Furthermore, I wish to assure you and the residents of Drimnagh that the development of Drimnagh Primary Care Centre at Curlew Road is a key priority for the HSE. Funding was allocated in 2022 to commence the design process. A design team has been appointed with that process underway. In 2023, additional funding has been made available to ensure the progression of this project.
I trust the above information is of use, but should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Private Secretary to the Minister for Health