The HSE is offering Irish health workers abroad a free flight and tax-free relocation expenses of €1,500 with a starting salary of €27,000 for a 39-hour week.
However, according to the organisers of a recruitment fair, British hospitals are already offering better overall packages.
While starting salaries for nurses and midwives in Britain are roughly in line with what the HSE offers, anyone leaving Ireland to work in the UK will enjoy relocation expenses of £5,000 (€6,757), a 37.5-hour working week, a contribution to professional registration, and ongoing training.
The Health Sector Jobs Expo takes place in Dublin on Saturday, where 30 healthcare employers will compete with their UK equivalents to recruit Irish nurses as well as doctors, midwives, and allied health professionals.
According to Stephen McLarnon of the expo: “If Ireland is to improve the quality of its health service it not only needs to retain its homegrown nurses, but also make the health system and the packages being offered more attractive for Irish nurses.”
Among the employers recruiting this weekend are public-run St Vincent’s University Hospital, UL Hospital Group Limerick, and Cork University Hospital, as well as private hospitals including The Galway Clinic and The Beacon Hospital.
Mr McLarnon said the HSE free flight offer, tax-free allocation, and €27,000 salary pales in comparison to the offers in the UK where there are 24,000 nursing vacancies.
The West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust, along with Healthcare in the Isle of Man, Hywel Dda University Health Board, and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, both in Wales, will all be in Dublin.
“The HSE needs to realistically compete by upping their game if they are serious about being able to populate Irish hospitals with staff,” said Mr McLarnon.
“Currently we are just not in the running and who would blame HCPs [health care professionals] for opting to work elsewhere.”