October 13, 2023
Government failure-induced recruitment freeze reckless in the extreme – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has strongly criticised the Government’s failure to properly fund the health service as “reckless in the extreme.”

He said that the budgetary decisions by the Government this week have forced the HSE to initiate a recruitment freeze on non-training non-consultant doctors and healthcare assistants, among other grades.

The TD for Waterford said that this risks catastrophic consequences for patient safety over the coming weeks as the health service battles another difficult winter.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“The Government has deliberately underfunded health, as admitted by the Minister for Health, and they have put patients at risk. This has forced the HSE to halt recruitment of essential workers.

“This is reckless in the extreme. We told the Minister that this will have a direct impact on the quality and safety of patient care with serious consequences, and we are now seeing the start of that with this recruitment freeze.

“The full implications of the dramatic underfunding are becoming clear. This will have a catastrophic impact on our health service as it battles another difficult winter, on patient safety and patients on trolleys, on mental health, on disability, and the almost million people on waiting lists.

“This will cause more overtime for other NCHDs, who are already extremely overworked. NCHDs work a significant and unsafe amount of overtime – which comes at a premium – to cover an existing deficit of 800 doctors. They are already working unsafe hours which carries significant risks.

“Even during the depths of austerity and the dark days of the Troika, these posts were not touched because it would have had catastrophic consequences for patient care.

“We are now facing consequences for our health service the likes of which we have not seen before. All of this on the watch of a Government that has thrown in the towel on healthcare.

“The leaders of the three parties in Government and the Minister for Health bear full responsibility for this mess.

“We are calling on the Government to urgently revisit the health allocation for this year and next and avert this recruitment freeze.”

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