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Crisis in recruitment in HSE - underlying issues must be tackled

28 December, 2016 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has said that Minister Harris needs to drop the constant rhetoric and get to grips with the health crisis. She highlighted the trolley numbers, lack of a bed capacity review, impending balloting for industrial action and staffing crisis as examples of how the Minister is failing abysmally to deal with the crisis in health, particularly in the turbulent winter period.  This latest recruitment drive will have as little impact as previous efforts if the underlying causes of the failure to recruit and retain staff are not addressed.

Deputy O’Reilly said;

"Today yet another recruitment drive is launched - but recent evidence suggests that without tackling the real reasons behind the failure to recruit and retain staff this will be just another press release with little or no impact.

Media reports only this summer noted that the HSE recruitment campaign only succeeded in getting 92 to take up full-time jobs. The unions have confirmed less than 100. Some of these have actually since left. This was a targeted campaign for 1200 with a 8% success. And even that was questionable.

We have heard much of the bed capacity review from Minister Harris, particularly in the last month, yet in a parliamentary question to me, he confirmed that the parameters and terms of reference for the review have yet to be determined. This is disgraceful. It is about Minister Harris dropped the rhetoric and got to grips with the health crisis.

As ever, we see a Government fond of Ministerial announcements and plans, but short on action and results. 

The persistent under-resourcing of primary and community care means people end up in hospital when they should and could be cared for in the community. The Minister was quick to announce building new primary care centres, but not one of the recently announced 14 PCCs will have a single additional staff member employed. How can we alleviate the pressures on hospitals when we aren’t resourcing primary care?

Our health system is in a state of crisis. Our public health services are being starved of resources. Trolley numbers have spiked, waiting lists stretch into years, we are in the grips of the winter crisis period and medical staff trained at home are leaving in droves due to poor working conditions. Meanwhile Minister Harris is doing nothing. 

The Minister needs to deal with these issues aggressively and that means addressing working conditions, training and career pathways and pay; it means reopening beds; it means investing in the public system, as opposed to diverting funds to the private sector.”

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