Fewer Therapists For School Based Services

September 3, 2015

The Department of Health Therapy Services has advised the public that the beginning of the 2015/2016 school year will be impacted by fewer therapists providing school based services.

The Department said, “To respond to this challenge services will be restructured to ensure that all Government schools will continue to have an assigned therapist from each discipline [Occupational Therapy [OT], Physiotherapy [PT] and Speech-Language Pathology [SLP].

“SLP and OT services for clients in home schools and private schools will resume when recruitment is completed. Parents/guardians will be contacted in due course.

“SLP services provided to the schools will be quite similar for OT and PT in that all Government preschools, primary and middle/senior schools will be assigned a therapist.

“However, service delivery will be impacted in all schools with increased focus on consultation and training/workshops. There will continue to be individual client sessions with clients that are eligible for this service.

The affected Government schools are listed below:

  • St. George’s Preschool
  • Harrington Sound Primary
  • Clearwater Middle School
  • St. David’s Preschool
  • Elliott Primary
  • Berkeley Institute
  • Lyceum
  • Prospect Primary
  • CedarBridge Academy
  • Devonshire Preschool
  • Victor Scott Primary
  • Dellwood Middle School
  • Prospect Preschool
  • Northlands Primary
  • T. N. Tatem Middle School
  • St. John’s Preschool
  • West Pembroke Primary
  • Whitney Institute
  • St. Paul’s preschool
  • Gilbert Institute
  • Sandy’s Middle School
  • Warwick Preschool
  • Paget Primary
  • Southampton Preschool
  • Purvis Primary
  • Lagoon Preschool
  • Heron Bay Primary
  • East End Primary
  • Port Royal Primary
  • St. George’s Prepatory
  • Dalton E. Tucker
  • St. David’s Primary
  • West End Primary
  • Francis Patton
  • Somerset Primary
  • Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy

“The Department of Health Therapy Services provide services for Early Intervention [young children – birth to 4 years old – and their families] as well as for school aged children in Bermuda’s public and private schools.

“This includes: Screening/assessments, Intervention and Prevention and Promotion information. These programs have provided services to approximately 1,200 children across the island each year.

“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.

“Early intervention helps babies and toddlers learn the skills that develop during the first three years of life. The team of early intervention therapists will be reduced by one Speech Language Pathologist while recruitment is underway.

“During recruitment the 6 month waitlist period for assessment is expected to increase. Therapists’ caseloads will be managed to so that general therapy services delivery will not be disrupted.

“Although waitlists do not currently exist for therapy services in the schools, it is anticipated that all areas [OT, PT & SLP] will be impacted for the start of the school year due to recruitment.”

Minister of Health, Seniors and Environment, Jeanne Atherden, said, “As the Minister of Health, I recognize that this is a less than ideal situation and strongly sympathize with those parents and students affected but the Ministry is doing its best to resolve this challenge as soon as possible.”

Service delivery methods will be based on eligibility and will include the following:

  • Triaging referrals
  • Monitor/Consultation
  • Parent training/workshops
  • Teacher training/workshops
  • Block therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Prioritizing individual direct therapy

“Some clients may choose to seek private therapy services within the community due to the wait-times for assessment/intervention services.

“Existing clients and their families are encouraged to participate in training sessions that are offered to them by their therapists. Additional information and suggestions to assist in the overall development of communication and sensory motor skills will be made available on the Department of Health website.

“The Department of Health Therapy services thanks the general public and our clients for their understanding and patience as we work through these challenges.”

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Comments (13)

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  1. RBKing says:

    Just think. If we got rid of a couple of dozen useless civil servants, we could use that money to keep services for therapists in government schools for chillness with special needs.

    • RBKing says:

      correction: should have been …for therapists in Government Schools for children with special needs.

    • huh? says:

      Department of Health employees ARE civil servants!!!! They have been impacted by staffing cutbacks just like every Department in Government has. We will continue to see a reduction in services as a result. We’ll have longer lines at TCD, Immigration etc. etc. Everything is going to take longer as services are reduced to the public. I can’t believe people aren’t paying attention! Every Department’s budget was cut 5% this fiscal year and will be cut another 5% next year. Staff who leave or reach retirement age are NOT allowed to be replaced. So in summary, you can rest assured that civil servants ARE being “gotten rid of”. Hope you’re ready for the impact…

      • Sickofantz says:

        So do you have any recommendations for cutting public spending?

        • huh? says:

          It’s up to the Government how public spending is cut…certainly not me! I’m just saying that cuts will affect services to everyone, including our school children. It is what it is.

  2. Onion Juice says:

    Why they just don’t say ALL public schools.

  3. Chart says:

    funny cuz I heard a few months ago that they had told therapists that their contracts would not be renewed …. Self inflicted pain?

    • Smh says:

      Hmmmm, gov. Hiring freeze? Cover-up?

    • clearasmud says:

      I heard the same!

    • huh? says:

      Self inflicted??? I think not…Government budget cuts and reduction of the number of employees in the civil service. Pay attention!