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Fresh recruitment embargo will copperfasten crisis in health service – Quinlivan

20 May, 2016 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin TD for Limerick Maurice Quinlivan has strongly criticised the announcement of a fresh embargo on the recruitment of doctors, nurses and midwives by the HSE.

Speaking today, Deputy Quinlivan said;

“The announcement of this recruitment ban is gobsmacking to say the very least. It indicates that the new Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has failed to appreciate the scale of the chaos in our hospitals. Despite our health service being understaffed and reliant on locum staff, Minister Harris has enforced a blanket ban on recruitment effective from now.

“It is also extremely alarming that no timeframe has been given for the embargo and the fact there was no collective consultation with trade unions smack of a frightening level of arrogance.

“The Minister's first major decision is to effectively copperfasten the state of crisis in the health service by starving the system of doctors, nurses and midwives, who are so desperately needed.

“Government policy over the last four years, including the freezing of recruitment and promotion by the HSE, and the cutting of graduate nursing salaries, has led to the decimation of front line health services. Yet incredibly, more than €15m was spent on Agency Workers by Limerick University Hospital Group during 2014 alone. This represents a ten fold increase from the year 2010.

“This move, coupled with the creeping privatisation agenda of Fine Gael, makes me fearful for the future of the public health service in this state and consequentially the ability of ordinary people to access vital healthcare of the basis of medical need, not ability to pay.

“The people of Limerick could teach the new young Minister a thing or two about the scale of crisis. Limerick University Hospital has been in the eye of the storm over the last number of years with persistent overcrowding and frontline staff left to deal with stress cauldron working conditions as a result.

“The previous government's approach to healthcare was bad for patients and bad for healthcare workers. It is shameful that the new administration looks set to continue that failed approach.

“I am calling on the Minister to turn away from this path, reverse the embargo, and begin implementing progressive solutions to the crisis in the health system.” 

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