Covid-19 contact tracing staff being cut to ‘much reduced’ level

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The HSE is importantly scaling backmost its Covid-19 interaction tracing operations with unit moving done a subcontractor being advised to use for a constricted fig of roles successful different area.

Recruitment bureau CPL told interaction tracers this week that the fig of unit required for declaration tracing successful aboriginal would beryllium “much reduced”, and encouraged workers to use for caller roles successful a caller task that matched “the skills premix acquired by interaction tracers”.

The HSE said determination were 574 unit moving successful interaction tracing astatine the extremity of April - down from a highest of much than 800 during the worst question of the pandemic successful January - arsenic the incidence of the illness has declined successful caller months.

The simplification has travel from unit moving wrong the HSE oregon leaving the wellness work and done “leveraging technology”, the HSE said. The remaining unit enactment 7 days a week successful 4 interaction tracing centres successful Cork, Limerick, Galway and Dublin.

A HSE spokeswoman said it was moving with the Department of Health connected a aboriginal program for its trial and hint operations, but was not capable to accidental however galore interaction tracers would yet beryllium retained.

“Once that is finalised, we volition prosecute with stakeholders,” she said.

This week CPL told contracted staff, whose employment is ending connected June 30th, that determination were a fig of “team lead” oregon “grade five” jobs disposable and “initially 57 people 3 roles” with a task based astatine the Heuston South Quarter offices adjacent the HSE’s office successful Dublin.

Most interaction tracers are successful “grade three” roles. Staff indispensable use and undertake interviews for the roles, which volition tally until October 28th.

One interaction tracer moving extracurricular Dublin expressed choler that interaction tracing staff, who had worked done the astir hard periods of the pandemic, were being offered caller roles moving for the HSE truthful agelong arsenic they were consenting to determination to Dublin to instrumentality up the role.

“We person had the privilege of speaking to astir each household successful the country, trying to support the state and the wellness work during a monolithic uncharted emergency, and it feels similar we are being thrown connected the employment scrapheap with nary appreciation oregon assistance,” said the tracer.

CPL told unit successful an emailed circular that the HSE was processing a modulation program to determination from the “high-volume trial and tracing strategy to a surveillance-based system, portion maintaining a level of resilience to negociate imaginable aboriginal surges”.

It said the HSE was finalising the program to clasp “a proportionality of our existent staff” who tin interaction hint successful enactment with nationalist wellness guidance, “while balancing the sustained existent simplification successful Covid-19 lawsuit numbers and the consequent alteration successful the measurement of interaction tracing”.

“In applicable terms, this means that we are readying to clasp a proportionality of our employees connected caller contracts who volition undertake akin call-based/clerical enactment connected behalf of the HSE but volition beryllium disposable to resume their relation successful interaction tracing if that is necessary,” said the CPL circular.

The caller roles impact calling members of the public, dealing with confidential and delicate accusation and the signaling of accusation connected a lawsuit narration absorption system.

The seven-day moving mean of caller Covid-19 regular cases, confirmed by authoritative PCR tests, roseate to 1,870 connected Friday, up from 750 a week ago, but it is importantly down from a precocious of 22,480 successful January arsenic incidence of the illness has fallen dramatically successful caller months.

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