Update on AOTI meeting with the HSE National Director of HR
An update for members on progress achieved at the meeting and the findings of our recent survey that was presented at the meeting
AOTI recently met with Anne Marie Hoey, National Director of HR to discuss members’ concerns about the panel system of recruitment. Eithne Fox, Head of HBS Human Resources, was also in attendance. The Association was represented at the meeting by our Chairperson Mary McGrath, Odhrán Allen our CSO, Genevieve O’Halloran from our Management Team and Theresa Peacock from the National Occupational Therapy Managers Advisory Group.
In preparation for the meeting AOTI carried out a survey to gather data on occupational therapists’ experiences of the panel system of recruitment. An impressive 1,010 occupational therapists participated in the survey and we would like to thank them all for taking the time to participate. The findings paint a clear picture of our profession’s negative experience of the panel system in recent years and backs up our statement last November that the panel system of recruitment was not fit for purpose. The findings of the survey were presented to the HSE at the meeting. The key findings of the survey are available here.
A key piece of information to emerge at the meeting is that the HR function in the HSE is going through a period of restructuring in line with Slaintecare. We are happy to inform you that as part of this restructuring, the HSE is in the process of developing a new model of recruitment. The HSE listened to our members concerns at the meeting and have heard our call for reform of the panel system. They have committed to taking the survey findings into consideration in the development of the new recruitment model. A commitment was also given at the meeting to ongoing engagement with Occupational Therapy Managers on recruitment matters. We welcome both commitments from the HSE.
We understand that none of this progress can undo the stress and upset caused to our members by the disbandment of the 2016 panels. Unfortunately, the HSE was unable to discuss this matter with us at the meeting as it is still with the Workplace Relations Commission. We hope that this process has a good outcome for our members.
AOTI will continue to advocate on behalf of our members for a more candidate-friendly model of recruitment that leads to the right person with the right skills being appointed. This is crucial to ensure that the public receive the highest quality of health service. AOTI’s advocacy role is a different one to that of the trade union who support workers’ rights and terms and conditions. As Fórsa is the trade union for HSCPs in the HSE, they have the negotiating rights on issues such as recruitment and HSE HR informed us that they are in ongoing discussion with Fórsa on this matter.
In summary, AOTI found the meeting with the National Director of HR to be a positive and constructive one. We welcome the news that the HSE is developing a new model of recruitment and look forward to hearing more about how discussions with the unions are progressing on this. We also look forward to continued engagement with HSE HR so that we can support the development of a better, more candidate-friendly system of recruitment.
Chief Strategy Officer