HSE set to appoint 35 ‘leadership coaches’

The HSE has been accused of putting managers before patients after revealing plans to appoint 35 “leadership coaches” to help senior managers in their “personal transition” into higher jobs.

The move, described as a “slap in the face” to people unable to access care due to repeated funding cuts, is detailed on the Government’s e-tender website.

While no salary for each position — to be filled early next year — has been revealed, the leadership coaches will be appointed across all four HSE regions.

They will be assigned to senior HSE managers “as and when required”, with tasks including helping to develop “managerial competence and resilience in a changing environment”.

“Tailored one-to-one coaching will help high potential managers focus on three to four aspects of their personal development needs as identified in pursuit of achieving performance that can be improved and sustained,” a HSE spokesman told trade newspaper Irish Medical News.

He said the coaches will also attempt to encourage HSE officials to “take ownership for a plan of personal continuous performance improvement over the subsequent 12 months”.

The logic behind the appointments is that large numbers of managers have left the HSE in recent years, meaning those stepping up to replace them need help as they gain experience.

However, the Jack and Jill Foundation, which cares for children with life-limiting conditions, said the appointments are proof of “a system gone mad”.

“This is another slap in the face for the 300 families supported by Jack and Jill, many of whom are locked in a constant battle with the HSE to get support they need.

“Here we have a public admission from the HSE top brass that 35 external coaches are needed to address the serious gaps in management expertise in the system,” said the group’s chief executive, Jonathan Irwin.

“They can’t be serious about shelling out thousands of euro in 2013 on coaching yet more managers, when the HSE is already overloaded with managers and needs more frontline staff.

“It’s the system that’s bad and needs to be overhauled. We want less managers and more action from the HSE.”

As many as 15 external leadership coaches will have responsibility for the HSE Dublin North East and HSE Dublin Mid Leinster regions, while 10 each will be linked to the HSE South and HSE West.

The HSE said the coaching services will feed into its succession management Strategy and are needed to address serious gaps in management expertise.

The services will be based on a framework deal, meaning a set number of external experts will be part of a pool that can be accessed to help HSE officials when needed.

Further details are expected to be revealed once the deadline for submitting tenders ends on Jan 8.


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