HSE can’t hire trainers for €100k software

HSE staff have been told to make do with basic supports instead of specialist training on how to run a new €100,000 IT system as a direct result of controversial cost-cutting plans.

An internal HSE group has confirmed that, despite the significant price tag on the software, the ongoing health service recruitment ban means specialist trainers cannot be found.

Instead, staff must make do with an “in depth” system manual, a correct procedures newsletter, and phone/email support on how to use the system.

The software program was purchased last year to help compile information on the cervical cancer jab programme.

It was incorporated into existing HSE services last September.

However, minutes from the HSE internal schools immunisation implementation group obtained by trade newspaper the Medical Independent show that formal training on how to operate the software was not provided.

This, the minutes confirmed, was because of the recruitment ban — a cost-cutting policy which has severely limited the HSE’s ability to fill service gaps for more than half a decade.

The HSE has defended the situation, saying training on the IT system is still taking place through the creation of an “in-depth system manual” and a “correct procedures” newsletter.

Telephone and email supports are also in place in each HSE region, according to a spokesperson.

However, Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher said the current supports may not be adequate to cope should complex problems emerge.

“If you’re going to avail of technology, you should ensure and insist you have the right supports in place, because otherwise it’s a waste of the capital cost.

“The recruitment ban is too arbitrary and it’s a blunt instrument in my view. It results in shortages of delivery of healthcare, so if the recruitment ban is the reason for this then that should be looked at.

“It makes no sense to have no trainers. If a piece of equipment or software package is complex, staff need training more than just a manual.”

The new IT data compiling system was developed after a similar programme was put in place to track the risk posed to Ireland by the 2009 swine flu pandemic outbreak.

The €100,000 cost of the new technology was calculated by the HSE as a result of “modifications and extended reporting capability” that was needed to update the software for the cervical cancer jab programme.

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