ISCP critical of Department research papers that ignore the role of HSCPs


 12 September 2022


ISCP critical of Department research papers that ignore the role of HSCPs


The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP)  says it is ‘disappointed and deeply concerned’ that research papers published by the Ministers of Health and Public Expenditure and Reform as part of the  2022 Spending Review process do not include Health and Social Care Professionals (HSCPs) and report only on GPs, dentists and optometrists working in primary care.

The ISCP says that the omission of HSCPs from the fourth and fifth research papers ‘Healthcare Capital Investment in Ireland’ indicates that the Ministers and their officials are not paying attention to the  investment needed in HSCP infrastructure to  deliver on Sláintecare goals.

The Health and Social Care Professions (HSCPs) includes physiotherapists and is the second largest clinical grouping of the healthcare workforce.  A HSE Staff Census in October 2021 showed that  18,723 HSCPs were employed, representing 25% of the clinical workforce and 14% of the overall health services workforce.

Speaking of behalf of the  Irish Society of Physiotherapists (ISCP) which has over 3,600 members, Dr Marie Ó Mír, Advanced Practice Officer said “We are very worried that these important reports are not taking into account the full picture when it comes to healthcare reform. It is extremely concerning and disappointing that within these latest publications there is no mention of physiotherapists or indeed any of the other 26 professions that make up a quarter of the HSEs clinical workforce.”

Dr Ó Mír continued “The Healthcare Capital reports detail the considerable variation in the number of GPs per head of population, based on geographical location nationally. While there is an obvious need to train and recruit more GPs, other jurisdictions such as within the UK and Northern Ireland have implemented other strategies to manage appointment demand in the community, by utilising highly skilled physiotherapists in advanced practice roles to work alongside GPs . This has resulted in improved efficiencies for services, new care pathways being created for patients and reduced waiting times. The ISCP has delivered a report to the Minister for Health, demonstrating that the physiotherapy workforce nationally is ready to deliver this enhanced level of care, but the Minister continues to drag his heels on implementing the clinical grade that would allow this innovation to happen.”

 In its pre-budget submission 2023 the ISCP calls on the Minister for Health to amend current legislation to allow physiotherapists to refer for x-ray.  Dr Marie Ó Mír is pointing  out that “The fourth and fifth Healthcare Capital Investment in Ireland reports highlight that timely access to x-rays can allow for expedited diagnosis and discharge of patients. Currently in Ireland if a patient seeing a physiotherapist needs an x-ray, the physiotherapist must redirect them to their GP or consultant, just for an x-ray referral, a process which is generating extra cost for the patient and adding to waiting times for appointments. The ISCP reiterates our position that allowing physiotherapists to refer for x-ray will reduce costs to the patient and the health service, improve efficiency and bring Ireland in line with international standards of care.” <ENDS>