Kim Wilson On Shortage Of School Therapists

September 16, 2015

There has been a “shortage of therapists for some time with students going without therapy or certain schools not being serviced,” and the ”shortage has been compounded with the recent hiring freezes of therapists positions,” Shadow Health Minister Kim Wilson said today.

Earlier this month the Department of Health Therapy Services advised that the beginning of the 2015/2016 school year will be impacted by fewer therapists providing school based services, saying: ”Several therapy posts are in the process of recruitment. A number of therapists who have provided an excellent service to the community have moved on with their careers. As a result, staffing for these programs will be challenged for the early part of the up-coming school year.”

The Bermuda Parents Teachers Students Association [BPTSA] also addressed the matter, saying: “The recruitment process takes too long. We need personnel now. The consistent delivery of services to this group of students is crucial to their development. The Department of Health must be able to expeditiously address any further personnel shortages.”

In a statement today, Ms Wilson said, “It is my understanding that there has been a shortage of therapists for some time with students going without therapy or certain schools not being serviced.

“The shortage has been compounded with the recent hiring freezes of therapists positions, as therapists are being told they will no longer have a job at the end of their work permit. Therefore, with the uncertainty of employment, the current therapists are wrapping up their affairs with government for a more secured employment plan.

“This lack of planning is sloppy, unfair, and unacceptable and is a situation which needs to be planned for and addressed as there are many children who require and benefit from therapeutic services in the school system to assist the students to achieve goals.

“Many parents can share their stories of inconsistency and lack of therapeutic services in the school system which is detrimental in the long term. Time is short already, we should not allow our students to fall short due to shortsighted planning and lack of coordination.

“Parents and students deserve more support and efficiency to get the therapeutic services needed for achievement and success,” added Ms Wilson.

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Comments (26)

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  1. JCS says:

    I really don’t know how we got by ‘back in the day’ without therapists in our schools.

    • Answer says:

      That’s because these students were NOT in regular schools. They all went to the SAME school for those that remember. Now there is inclusive education.

  2. hmmm says:

    I would imagine that a therapists day is not full of appointments.
    Perhaps schools can have access to a small pool of regional therapists who visit different schools.

    • Answer says:

      They service several schools all ready. Some five to six schools.

    • serengeti says:

      You have no idea. They have genuinely big workloads. The problem is not the fault of the remaining therapists.

  3. serengeti says:

    I agree with Kim Wilson, although there are other issues that make the problem worse. Government therapists are currently banned from taking any private clients, say at weekends. What this means is that kids who don’t get services at school (because there aren’t enough government therapists) also can’t find any private resources (because all the government therapists are banned from providing that service during their own time). That just makes the whole problem worse than it needs to be.

    The other huge problem, that has existed for years, is that during a school year, a child who is supposed to see a therapist every week actually ends up getting about 5 visits in the whole year, max. All the other weeks are ‘planning’, ‘internalmeetings’, ‘assessments’, ‘review weeks’, etc. It’s system that is designed and run for the benefit of civil servants, rather than for the benefit of children.

    Some of the therapists are excellent, top class people. It’s just a pity they have to work in an environment where the needs of the children aren’t the first priority.

  4. Terry says:

    And there have and is a shortage of shadow ministers addressing real needs.
    Next week………………….

    RIP Bda.

  5. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    Curious why the PLP are only now calling the hiring system ‘sloppy, unfair and unacceptable’. They are operating the same HR policies that were in effect under them, why weren’t they ‘sloppy, unfair and unacceptable’ when the PLP were in charge. The only difference now is that unless the position is deemed critical, it won’t be filled. The trouble is that a number of the therapists are moving on, only required to give a month or 2 notice, whatever their contract requires, and the government then has to engage in a 4 – 6 month hiring process to advertise, interview and vet prospective applicants. The best time to be looking for applicants would be towards the end of school years, not the beginning, and the trouble is most of those that left or are leaving did or are doing so right before the beginning of the school year. So it is hard to fault it on a lack of planning if they didn’t know who they were needing to hire until late in the game.
    Another issue of the PLP playing political football with a situation, when they themselves couldn’t manage this effectively.

    • U.I.B says:

      It was much more effective ministry when they had 5 ministers in 4 years and uncertified teachers.

      The biggest mistake that we ever made in this country was reverting to the Middle School system. The UBP started with Cedarbridge megaschool and the PLP made things worse by adding another megaschool – Berkeley.

      • U.I.B says:

        Kim, Many parent also rely on the Public Transportation system to get their kids to school. I trust that you will be making a statement condemning the BIU for their continuous and sloppy planning and bad management which regularly leaves children without a way to get to school or home a few times a year.

        All it would take is a notice to say;

        NOTICE: THE BIU WOULD LIKE TO INFORM THE PUBLIC THAT ONE THE FIRST FRIDAY OF EACH JANUARY,APRIL, JULY AND OCTOBER WE WILL FIND A REASON TO STRIKE, MARCH OR HAVE A MEETING AT THE LAST MEETING SO PLEASE ARRANGE TO HAVE YOUR KIDS FIND THEIR OWN WAY HOME. SORRY FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE THAT THIS MAY CAUSE.

  6. aceboy says:

    Kim. While you were part of the government that sucked the economic life out of this island did you ever think that this is exactly the kind of thing that would happen? You know…..the consequences of allowing your buddies to spend us all into a hole we may never get out of?

    • Unbelievable says:

      Exactly. Like this problem only just began this year. Oh and it’s the OBA’s fault too. Get real, PLP.

    • Barbara Cooper says:

      Why is an intelligent woman like Kim Wilson wasting her time and expertise by being a member of the PLp ??

  7. Rhonda says:

    I am still awaiting for the speech therapist, from last year…maybe s/he is still coming….

    • kangoocar says:

      Why are YOU waiting for a speech therapist??? Do you have problems with YOUR speech??? I would have thought a psychiatrist is what YOU should be waiting for, reading your posts clearly indicates that is who you need???

      • U.I.B says:

        @Kangocar. Rhonda may have a legitimate complaint if she has been told something was coming. However Rhonda, my sister has found tremdous support and help from Websites, Support Groups, Facebook and Youtube. She has in my opinion accomplished more than any 1 hour therapist a week could offer. I’m not saying that you are “waiting”, I’m just saying, if you have a child in need, please don’t wait! We are owed nothing!

  8. Terry says:

    Just another PLP MP jumping in.
    Next week……………………

  9. Vulcan Trash Cleaner says:

    The plp need therapy,urgently!

  10. Looking for work says:

    Wow, that $800 million could come in handy now.

    • U.I.B says:

      $800 M is only the amount that the auditors could not find! That $800M does not include what was wasted and mishandled.

      • Earth watch police says:

        Every time the plp complains about cut backs and layoffs etc we all get to demand to know where our money is .

  11. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    Is there that much home abuse,,,where a child needs a therapist at school..? Signs of prophecy…but no one cares…smdh.

    • U.I.B says:

      We have an inclusive system. 20+ years ago , students that needed extra help, mobility, speech, motor skill etc… were sent to a special school where they could get that help. Now we have the students included in the regular schools , but they still require the same help and therapy. It does not mean abuse! Although some kids may need help from this.

  12. Terry says:

    You know.
    Silly me.
    I was dragged again into a statement and responded without thought.

    The first sentence of BERNEWS (above) speaks volumes.

    Read it again and apply it to the stuff the PLP put out each day.

    “Therapist”.

    Delve deeper.

    Think about it and the state of the Country. Yes we are a Country.

    Shalom.