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PHECC in current form ‘could well collapse’, warned business case

The Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) “could well be in danger of collapse” in its current form, revealed a business case the Council submitted to the 2018 estimates process.

Management and staff believed it was constantly ‘firefighting’ “due to a lack of staff, increasing workloads and the resultant ineffective structure”, outlined the business case obtained from the Department of Health following a Freedom of Information request.

PHECC’s strengths included employees’ “motivation, flexibility, willingness to work hard” and its “independence from service providers”.

Under the heading of ‘threats’, however, the document stated that “if PHECC don’t increase its organisational capacity it will be overwhelmed”. It also referenced lack of primary legislation, which meant it lagged behind other healthcare regulators.

“There are further pressures facing PHECC in terms of the introduction of the governance validation framework for CPG [clinical practice guideline] providers, designed to ensure the competence and standard of all service providers – statutory, auxiliary, voluntary and private,” according to the document.

“The quality review framework is ensuring a continuous quality improvement for recognised institutes and the responsibility for occupational first aid moving to PHECC in the near future, which will be a huge undertaking with applications being submitted from organisations wanting to be recognised institutions. These additional responsibilities have had to be subsumed within PHECC’s current structure and resource allocation, which has resulted in an inappropriate structure and distribution of functions and work.”

PHECC had a national network of 24 CPG approved service providers, 43 recognised (training) institutes, 4,911 practitioners and over 150,000 responders that it worked with daily, outlined the document.

Mr Richard Lodge, Director of PHECC, told the Medical Independent it has not restricted activities to date. However, “given the increase in activity and the limited available funding, this is something that always has to be considered”.

In 2018, there were three staff upgraded and three new staff added, while PHECC’s allocation was €2,997,000, up from €2,797,000 in 2017.

In 2019, it is expected that PHECC will have resources for two new staff and an allocation of €3,117,000. The organisation had other revenue of €553,975 in 2018 and €348,812 in 2017.

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