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GHA says it is actively recruiting speech and language therapists

The GHA on Thursday said it has already filled one of the vacancies for a Speech and Language Therapist and is seeking locum cover for another, while it underscored the difficulty in the recruitment process.

The statement comes after Together Gibraltar accused the Government of “failing” Gibraltar’s children with special educational needs and disabilities after being unable to fill two vacancies for speech and language therapists who had retired.

The party said the Government’s recruitment strategy had been “inadequate” and demonstrated a “complete disregard” for those affected.

In a statement issued yesterday, the GHA confirmed that the Speech and Language service for Paediatrics has indeed experienced two vacancies over the last twelve months.

“One of these vacancies was covered through locum cover until the individual was appointed into a substantive position in our Adult Service,” a spokesman for the GHA said.

“The GHA has been actively seeking to recruit and cover this position.”

“Efforts to recruit to the second vacancy, which was a consequence of retirement, was initiated immediately at the point that the retirement was officially confirmed.”

“We are pleased to announce that this week the GHA have successfully recruited a replacement to one of the above positions.”

“While we are waiting for the person to start in post, we will continue to work to secure locum cover.”

The GHA spokesman said Gibraltar is “not alone in its challenge” to recruit qualified speech and language therapists.

“A recent survey undertaken by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists identified that 96% of children services across the UK have found it increasingly difficult to recruit over the last three years,” the spokesman said.

“For Gibraltar recruiting qualified and specialist staff from the UK has become even more challenging, because of Brexit.”

“Considering the above, Gibraltar has fared relatively well.”

The GHA said prior to the TG press release, that the Minister for Health had already taken time to meet with therapists and clinicians from the GHA, Care Agency and Department of Education.

“This group have been tasked to work together to prepare short, medium and long term proposals to mitigate the challenges; not only with Speech and Language Therapy, but to assist in developing a strategy to support Gibraltar with respect to recruiting appropriately trained staff to support children with neuro developmental needs in the context of this global challenge,” the spokesman added.

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