Kelly: HSE recruitment freeze having detrimental impact on those offered jobs

Alan Kelly

A recruitment freeze imposed by the HSE is having a “detrimental” impact on those already offered jobs by the health authority, according to Labour's Alan Kelly.

“The HSE needs to be upfront with those whose offer dates are now in limbo and tell them when exactly they will be starting their jobs if at all," the Labour Party health spokesperson has urged.

It was "pretty shameful" for the HSE to go back on their word after telling job applicants it was business as usual despite the recruitment freeze.

“In the last week I have been contacted by numerous people who were due to start jobs in hospitals and now they will not be given a start date because of the recruitment freeze,” he said.

"It is unacceptable that healthcare professionals who have been offered jobs, who may have handed in their notice elsewhere because they were due to start a new job in the HSE, that their start date now hangs in the balance.

People cannot put their lives on hold because of the complete mismanagement of the recruitment embargo. People have mortgages or rent to pay and other living expenses.

A circular from the HSE Directorate issued at the end of March states that unapproved recruitment processes that had already started could not proceed to offer stage.

It states that a three-month recruitment restriction to the end of June is necessary because of "financial pressure" caused by the high level of recruitment last year and the need to live within its resources.

Approved development posts will continue to be recruited under existing control arrangements but all other recruitment will “pause”. However, "vigilance" will be maintained during the rest of the year so there is a “sustainable level of staffing” next year.

It points out that approved posts, notified in writing as relating to Brexit preparations, will be regarded as "exemptions".

Meanwhile, SIPTU is concerned that the proposed staffing model for the National Children's Hospital to be launched on Wednesday could lead to an immediate shortfall of almost 400 nursing posts.

“This is unacceptable for staff, for the children of Ireland and their families,” said SIPTU health division organiser, Paul Bell, who points out that the proposed 90:10 nurse-to-healthcare assistant ratio is at variance with the British model of 70:30 for similar services.

Children's Health Ireland has disputed Mr Bell's claim, describing it as "inaccurate" because the recommendation on the nurse-to-healthcare assistant ratio for paediatric services is different than the ratio for adult services.

"Further examination of the 90:10 nurse to healthcare assistant ratio is recommended to be undertaken by the Implementation Steering Group that includes all of the relevant staff representative bodies," it adds.

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