Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (346)

Seán Haughey


346. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he is committed to the free counselling service provided by his Department for teachers and other civil servants previously known as care call but which is now provided by an organisation (details supplied); his views on whether demand for this service is increasing but that the budget for it has not been increased; his plans to ensure that clients of the service can automatically obtain six sessions; if he will allow clients of the service obtain more than six sessions with the same counsellor if necessary; if the same counsellor can deal with the client on an ongoing basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35275/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

An Occupational Health Strategy is in place as a supportive resource for teachers.  The aim of this strategy is to promote the health of teachers in the workplace, with a focus primarily on prevention rather than cure. The Occupational Health Strategy comprises of the Employee Assistance & Wellbeing Programme (EAWP) and the Occupational Health Service. 

EAP Consultants (branded as Inspire Workplaces) are the current providers of the EAWP which includes a free confidential service available to teachers and their family members.  It is assessable by means of a Freephone dedicated helpline which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, providing counselling on a range of personal health and wellbeing issues given by qualified clinicians.  Referral to the service is on a self- referral basis.

Under the service up to 6 face-to-face counselling sessions are available for short-term solution focused counselling based on clinical need.  The EAWP provider must ensure continuity of counsellor during the period of action on a referral unless exceptional circumstances dictate otherwise. Demand for the EAWP service has been increasing in recent years.  

The Civil Service Employee Assistance Service (CSEAS) provides an internal Employee Assistance Programme to Civil Service staff.  The Service is a work-based professional service which is designed to assist employees manage/resolve work-related and personal difficulties which, if left unattended may adversely affect attendance, work performance and quality of life.