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HSE recruitment failure reflects poor work environment – O’ Reilly

28 July, 2016 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Health Louise O’Reilly has said that a poor work environment in our public health system is a factor in the very low uptake of nurse positions in the HSE.

Deputy O’ Reilly was responding to reports today that a HSE recruitment campaign aiming to attract hundreds of Irish nurses back to work in Irish hospitals has only succeeded in getting 92 nurses to take up full-time jobs.

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“Last year a NUI Galway survey of 2,000 students across six medical schools found almost nine out of 10 trainee nurses, and those who had come through the process, planned to leave when they qualified. At that time, it said that nine out of 10 medical students planned to leave or were contemplating leaving Ireland when they qualify. Career opportunities, working conditions and lifestyle were cited as the top three factors by some 88 per cent of over 2,000 students surveyed. 

“Today’s revelations in respect of the HSE recruitment campaign reflect the findings of this study. This is indicative of a health system in crisis which, without a plan for a meaningful reform, will continue to haemorrhage staff and will fail to attract the talent that the services and the patients need.

““We are experiencing unprecedented difficulties in encouraging nurses and other health workers to work in our public health service. What we are now seeing, and which Sinn Féin has been saying for a long time, is that the greatest barrier to retaining and recruiting nurses in our public health system is the resulting toxic work environment.  Nurses need to be able to trust that their work environment will get better and stay better. Any ad hoc, half-hearted recruitment efforts simply will not cut it.  

“Any effort to retain existing and recruit further nursing staff will only succeed if a believable financial commitment is made by government to expand health workforce numbers to the level needed to radically reshape the working environment in our health system. 

“The government need to address the root causes of their failure to recruit and this lies in the workplace.  This week we see another health union threatening industrial action, not about pay or job security, but about the failure by the HSE to deliver on a commitment to its workforce.  Our healthcare workers are the envy of the world and they deserve a decent place to work in.”

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