Front-line Limerick healthcare workers fear for jobs with agency to be wound up

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Concerned: Senator Paul Gavan

Concerned: Senator Paul Gavan

MORE than 100 frontline healthcare workers are facing an uncertain future with their agency set to be wound up today.

A creditors' meeting this Monday morning is expected to formally place TLC Homecare and Healthcare into liquidation, with staff being asked to attend to lodge claims for redundancy.

Based in Dooradoyle, TLC provides homecare, social care and nursing care staff to University Hospital Limerick (UHL), St Camillus Hospital and Milford Care Centre among others. The HSE logo is included on its website, and it’s widely known the health service uses agency staff.

Union sources have told the Limerick Leader that company founder Therese Begley Luke indicated she planned to close the firm down, as she could no longer afford to keep it going.

Sinn Fein Senator Paul Gavan, a former Siptu union health official said this shows: “the foolhardiness of relying on agency workers for key parts of our health service”.

It’s understood staff at Milford Care Centre are being given a special contract to ensure their continued employment. But the fate of staff at other healthcare providers is less clear: “It just shows how vulnerable our health service is right now,” Mr Gavan said, “How can we have a situation where our health service is significantly dependent on agency workers?”

The senator claimed the HSE is only employing agency staff to “avoid giving out full-time contracts”.

The last accounts filed by the company covered the period up to the end of 2016.

They showed the firm was owing €317,919 to various creditors. This figure had fallen from a total of €548,361 owing at the end of 2013.

According to company documents, TLC Homecare and Healthcare employed 105 people at the end of 2016.

Ms Begley Luke declined to comment when contacted by the Limerick Leader.

However, the businesswoman – who hails from Croom – has told friends on the social networking site Facebook that she has “retired” and Friday was TLC’s final day trading.

In a statement, the HSE said: “The agency in question is not currently providing staff to UL Hospitals Group and as such patient care and staffing are unaffected by the situation.”