Speaking after receiving the National Children’s Disability Network Team (CDNT) Census and Workforce Review, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Disability and Carers Deputy Pauline Tully voiced her dismay at the fact that there is a 28% vacancy rate across Children’s Disability Network Teams.
Teachta Tully said:
“It is shocking that Children’s Disability Network Teams have a 28% vacancy rate.
“That equates to over 524 vacancies across all of the 91 CDNTs nationally.
“The review goes on to report that there is a 29% vacancy rate at a senior level, a 34% vacancy rate at staff grade and a 78% vacancy rate among clinical specialists.
“A large section of the vacant posts is down to the fact that the HSE do not fund CDNTs to backfill or replace staff members who are vacant due to maternity, paternity or parental leave, which is the equivalent of 121 vacant posts, according to the review.
“This is placing an extremely heavy burden on the staff who are in post as they try to cope with the additional workload placed on them by the fact that almost a third of their teams have not been filled.
“This is undoubtedly one of the main factors that has led to extremely high waiting lists for assessments and services.
“This is all while parents and guardians are desperately seeking access to an assessment of need or therapeutic supports for their children.
“This review confirms what I and my colleagues in Sinn Féin have been hearing on the ground for some time.
“It also confirms, as Sinn Féin called for in two motions, that the government need to develop a strategic workforce plan to train, recruit and retain therapists for these posts.
“In the motion on the 29th March, which the government did not oppose, we called on them to lay out before the Dáil a report outlining in full:
- the number of Whole-Time Equivalent staffing posts that will be provided to children’s disability services for 2022;
- details of the package of supports to provide CDNTs with additional resources to address the backlog of AON as well as AON which were conducted incorrectly, and;
- provide additional therapeutic supports.
“We will be holding the government to account on the commitments they have made.
“It is simply not acceptable that nearly a third of posts within CDNTs are vacant while parents and guardians are desperately seeking access to an assessment of need or therapeutic supports for their children.”