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'Human Error' With Therapist Resignation Numbers

The government says it made a mistake about the number of occupational therapists and physiotherapists who resigned between January and November last year.

A Freedom of Information Request said 24 had quit, but we're now told it was seven.

It said more than a third of that workforce left between last January and November, leaving 50 members of staff and nine vacancies.

But the government now says that was human error - and the reasons for the seven resignations included retirement, working elsewhere in the department, and leaving the island.

Dr. Cheryl Power, who is the Chief of Allied Health Professions, insists services are running as normal.

"There are currently seven vacancies across physiotherapy and occupational health within Hospital and Community services. There are no gaps within our rehabilitation services and the number of physiotherapists and occupational therapists within the Department is at a level where we can provide safe services to Islanders. There has been no impact on the day-to-day running of the services due to these vacancies.

We are currently making improvements to the Island’s rehabilitation offering to ensure that care is holistic and patient-centred.

It is important to note that we offer rehabilitation within all Hospital wards and on the 14-bed Plémont Rehabilitation Unit. This support is the same as what was on offer on Samarès Ward.

Patients are only discharged from hospital when it is safe to do so. The rehabilitation team works closely with patients and their families to help them adapt to their new care needs and following their discharge, patients continue to receive support, based on their individual requirements within the community.

In some cases, returning home is in a patient’s best interest as it helps them to retain their independence, which means they are not at risk from hospital-borne infections and enables them to return to a normal, or nearly normal way of life as soon as possible.

We continue to listen to feedback from patients and their families and are continuously making improvements to offer the best care and support possible. This means we are working more closely with patients so they feel well-informed about their discharge and know what to expect when they return home. We acknowledge that the physical environment is different on Plémont compared to Samarès Ward. However, works will shortly start to improve the physical environment on the unit and an activities coordinator is to be recruited to help patients feel engaged during their stay.

This is a service, like others across HCS, that continues to work in a very challenging environment and colleagues have turned up every day to deliver great care to Islanders. I’m very proud of the work that our allied health professionals deliver on daily basis as well the improvements they are working on for our rehabilitation services. I have every confidence that patients and their families are receiving the best possible care and support to help them in their recovery."

While that has been cleared up, there is still some discrepancy over the vacancy rate within the Health Department.

The Health Minister told the States Assembly last November that it was 5.3%.

But a government spokesperson has admitted that a rate of 13% is more accurate.

There were more than 350 unfilled posts as of 1 November 2021 - with 63 in surgical services, 56 in medical services, and 46 in mental health.

Channel 103 has made several requests for an interview with Deputy Richard Renouf.

The States Assembly will decide next week whether Samares Ward should be reopened.

Deputy Renouf has tweaked Senator Steve Pallett's States proposition, removing explicit references to Samares Ward and promising similar improvements to facilities for stroke survivors but in more generic terms.

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