The Department of Health has sanctioned the temporary appointment of more than 1,000 health staff, with no advertising of the positions, it has been claimed.
Fine Gael senator Colm Burke claimed that the “upgrading” of staff within the health service is occurring because of the embargo on new recruitment.
In a written response to questions lodged with the HSE at a meeting of the Oireachtas Health Committee, the current situation regarding temporary positions is outlined.
The response, by Laverne McGuinness, chief operations officer of the HSE, outlines how the HSE has gone about filling positions despite the embargo on recruitment that has applied since March 2009.
The response outlined how “under the Croke Park Agreement, there was a provision for the regularisation of management/admin staff in the grades of Grade IV to VII, that had being acting up at a higher grade for a defined period of time. The number of Grades IV and higher grades encompassed by this process was of the order of 943 employees.”
She said that under the Haddington Road Agreement, a second regularisation process was activated late last year.
“This second process of regularisation is now nearing completion,” she said. “The most up-to-date figure here is that 141 staff were regularised at the higher grade based on time in an acting capacity.”
Ms McGuinness added, as of the end of May, there have been 42 temporary appointments made in the staff category of management/admin across the HSE.
Mr Burke said: “They are saying that because of the embargo they cannot advertise. They are saying they are putting up ‘expressions of interest [notifications]’, and that it would be advertised internally, but the word I am getting is that not necessarily everyone in the HSE is aware that these positions are arising.
“It is easy to use the embargo as a mechanism for not advertising and it cannot be left unchallenged.”
He added that “proper procedures” needed to be followed with regard to recruitment, particularly in “key positions”.
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