May 15, 2024
Dangerous recruitment embargo is putting patients at risk – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has again called on the Government to lift the dangerous health service recruitment embargo which is putting patients at risk.

Teachta Cullinane made the remarks following meetings today with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and SIPTU, following meetings yesterday with Fórsa and the Irish Medical Organisation.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“The Government’s dangerous health service recruitment embargo is putting patients at risk. That is the unanimous view of workers’ representatives.

“Even posts which should be filled and unaffected by the embargo have been caught up in a process described as ‘designed not to secure approval.’ Existing posts which need to be filled to cover maternity leave or a retirement are being left vacant as a result.

“Anecdotally, there appears to be over 2,000 nursing and midwifery vacancies, but the HSE does not collate or confirm this information. These posts are not being filled, according to frontline staff and managers, even where they are theoretically exempt from the embargo.

“There are also serious questions marks over the method the Government is using to calculate the additional posts which will be made available this year. There is concern that currently vacant posts will be entirely removed from the HSE workforce profile, as was indicated in previous circulars from the HSE CEO, despite the fact that they were previously approved and are still needed.

“At the same time, the Government, the HSE, and the Oireachtas want to move to a 7-day health service. The first step is achieving 7-day diagnostics. Yet, in the last few years, there have been very few additional radiographers hired. To go from Monday to Friday, 9-5, to a 7-day, 8-8 service requires a more than doubling of the whole-time equivalent staff in a radiology department. The posts needed to achieve this have not been sanctioned.

“At the same time, newly graduated radiographers will not get a job offer if this embargo remains in place. Only 100 radiographers graduate every year, and not all of the will work in the HSE. We need as many as we can get but the recruitment embargo and difficult working conditions are sending a message to graduates that they should leave and causing those abroad not to come home. The recruitment embargo must be ended.”

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