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The HSE has launched a recruitment drive targeting Irish nurses and midwives who left Ireland to work abroad.

Welcome home

The campaign, which is hoping to fill 500 posts initially, is not before time as wards are being shut and new ones remain unopened because of nursing staff shortages.

A prime example of this, as revealed in the Irish Examiner late last month, concerns the new €3m high-observation unit in the psychiatric department of Kerry General Hospital in Tralee, which remains closed due to a nursing shortage.

Since the recession, there has been a huge exodus of Irish-educated nurses to hospitals in the UK, Australia, and the US.

These shortages are not just due to the emigration of local talent, but also to the ongoing effects of a halt in recruitment over the past few years.

The fact is that we are not producing enough nurses to take into account those leaving the service. For every two nurses being recruited, three are retiring.

The recruitment embargo has finally come home to roost.

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