– Increased Health Service budget will allow for recruitment of additional frontline staff, but where will they come from? –

Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and East Meath Declan Breathnach has raised a Parliamentary Question on how the Government plans to address the deficit in staffing requirements in nursing, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and other disciplines in view of the increased health service budget allocation.

“Graduates are being enticed abroad with attractive packages. Unless there is something done to speed up the pay restoration under the Landsdowne Road Agreement, and to pursue the recommendations made by the MacCraith Group, established in 2013 to review medical training and career structures, we are going to continue to lose our graduates to other jurisdictions.”

“The Minister has said that a number of specific measures have been taken in relation to pay that will support the recruitment and retention of Irish nursing and midwifery graduates. Measures to date include the first stage of pay restoration under the Lansdowne Road Agreement, additional pay in return for taking on some duties from doctors and an increase in the rate of pay for the student nursing placement to 70% of the first point of the staff nurse pay scale.”

“The Minister has also said that recruitment campaigns are underway in Ireland and abroad with a relocation package of up to €1,500 available to nurses who return from overseas. Campaigns include recent and ongoing international, national and local interviewing of General Nurses, Mental Health, Intellectual Disability and Children’s nurses and midwives.”

“There are acute staffing deficits however in disciplines across the health service, not just in nursing. There are vacancies to be filled in occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, junior doctor posts etc.”

“The Minister has said that they have the highest budget ever allocated to the health service of €14.6 billion and that this will allow for recruitment of additional frontline staff. However, in order to address the lack of clinical staff, the Minister should look to improve inefficiencies caused by poor management, excessive bureaucracy and outdated equipment.”

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Johanna Walsh, Office of Declan Breathnach T.D., Leinster House, Dublin 2

(T) 01 6183549 (Email) declan.breathnach@oireachtas.ie