Campaign to woo home nurses attracts 320 applicants
A major recruitment drive to woo home 500 Irish nurses working in the UK with free flights and relocation expenses worth €1,500 has so far attracted 320 applicants.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) embarked on the hiring exercise last month in a desperate bid to recruit badly needed general nurses, psychiatric nurses and midwives to work in full-time jobs in hospitals and community services across the country.
It is also offering to pay the nurses' registration fee of €100, fund postgraduate education and give incremental salary credit for work experience outside of Ireland.
A spokeswoman for the HSE said yesterday that 320 nurses had submitted applications and had been shortlisted for suitability.
Some 90 of these are on a more advanced shortlist and have either been interviewed or are scheduled to be interviewed in the next couple of weeks.
"Of those who have been interviewed, about 10 have joined the service and we are awaiting final garda clearance and reference for another 20 candidates who could commence in the next few months," she said.
Commenting on the response, Ian Tegerdine, the HSE's national human resources director, said: "We are very pleased with the pilot so far and it looks like we are making some good progress towards our target."
The starting salary for the 39-hour week is €27,211 and compares with around €31,037 in the UK, although their hospitals can vary wage levels.
Some voluntary hospitals are employing their own measures to try to fill posts, including Beaumont Hospital in Dublin which has enlisted the help of TV3's Sinead Desmond (pictured inset), who was nursed back to health at the hospital following a brain haemorrhage in 2008. She launched the hospital's recruitment drive looking for nurses to work in areas such as critical care, advanced nurse practitioner posts, specialist nursing and management jobs.
The Irish Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland is under pressure to ensure that all nurses who are ready to take up the jobs are not delayed by a backlog in registration applications.
The HSE's relocation package, which is tax-free, is available for nurses and midwives who wish to work in Ireland.
Competing relocation packages have been offered by hospitals in the UK, which has a more favourable income tax rate. Some even throw in extra incentives such as financial supports for childcare expenses.