Half of Ireland’s occupational therapists have considered quitting in the past year, a new survey of the profession has revealed.
As HSE staff deal with huge waiting lists and chronic understaffing, many occupational therapists were upfront that they were not enjoying their work.
“The survey findings are stark and very concerning,” Odhrain Allen, CEO of the Association of Occupational Therapists in Ireland, told Newstalk.
“It shows that occupational therapists are working in very challenging conditions.
“Two thirds of occupational therapists feel more negatively about their job than they did 12 months ago and over two thirds have reported feeling burnout.
“This is for reasons such as lack of staffing, lack of career progression and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In last month’s budget, Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath announced funding for the hiring of an additional 6,000 staff in the health service.
“This builds upon two record years for recruitment in the health system,” he told the Dáil.
However, Mr Allen says there are other issues behind the disenchantment in the profession.
“The HSE and the Government need to recognise that staffing is only one layer of the cause of the burnout among occupational therapists and why they want to leave,” he said.
“Other issues are a lack of career progression and support for continued professional development and all of these things point to the need for a chief HSCP officer in the Department of Health who can advocate for occupational therapists and other health and social care professionals.”
Main image: Occupational therapist helping patient to walk.