Workplace stress “particularly among frontline staff” is the number one issue raised by HSE staff with the national employee assistance programme (EAP), a meeting was told.
According to the Executive, the EAP provides confidential counselling support and a referral service for all HSE staff with personal or work-related difficulties. Advice and guidance are also available to managers to support them in managing staff welfare issues.
The HSE people and culture committee reviewed the EAP service at a meeting in late 2022. Following a presentation from Mr Morgan Lucey, National Lead with the EAP, “the committee discussed the most pressing issues raised by staff in the EAP with workplace stress being number one, particularly among frontline staff.”
Mr Lucey “advised that similar issues arise in every health service and programmes such as the EAP have a positive impact, with building resilience among staff a key priority”, according to meeting minutes.
“In terms of global best practice, he confirmed that the HSE EAP is performing well comparatively.”
The committee was also told the “process for investigation of cases involving administrative leave is too slow. There is a need to address issues before they become a formal process. This requires management training.”
Writing in the Medical Independent in January 2021, Mr Lucey described the EAP as “a free, confidential, and independent service for all HSE staff. It is there to support employees who are experiencing personal or work-related issues that may be affecting their mental health, their job performance or home life.”
The EAP provides a suite of services including confidential counselling; consultation to managers on staff wellbeing and psychosocial issues; critical incident stress management response; and workshops on staff wellbeing issues.