Sunday 25 September 2016

HSE accused of revoking nurse jobs offer

Greg Harkin

Published 13/09/2016 | 02:30

'It just seems so unfair. We were told four weeks ago that we were getting jobs . . . To be told we won’t is devastating . . . Now I’ll have to emigrate' (Stock picture)
'It just seems so unfair. We were told four weeks ago that we were getting jobs . . . To be told we won’t is devastating . . . Now I’ll have to emigrate' (Stock picture)

Nursing graduates promised jobs just a few weeks ago have been devastated after the offer was 'withdrawn' by the HSE.

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The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) ended an industrial dispute last month after the HSE agreed a measure of packages including the recruitment of all students completing graduate courses next month.

However 11 students at Letterkenny IT who have just completed internships with the HSE have been by told by letter they won't be offered staff jobs.

"This is a clear breach of the national agreement reached at the Workplace Relations Commission just a few weeks ago," said PNA spokesman Derek Cunningham.

"This agreement is being implemented in every other area of the country except Donegal. We are being told that there are no vacancies but we know there are jobs currently being filled by a combination of agency staff and overtime."

The union's Industrial Relations Officer Rory Kavanagh said nurses who have left the service haven't been replaced.

"Part of the reason behind the decision to employ these new nurses was to cut down on overtime and the massive additional costs of agency nurses," he said.

In a letter to the graduates John McCardle, Acting Area Director of Nursing Donegal Mental Health Services, congratulated them and even thanked them for helping staff during the industrial disputes.

He then told them: "I realise that during this dispute there has been a significant amount of media coverage indicating that you will all get job offers and that finding employment should not be difficult.

"Ideally I would like to be able to offer each and every one of you the opportunity to remain within the Donegal Mental Health Service and benefit from the knowledge and skills that you have developed to date.

"However, the Donegal Mental Health Service is currently fully staffed and while there are a number of people in acting positions, it remains to be seen how these will be resolved before any prediction could be made as to the likelihood of vacancies in the immediate future."

Mr McArdle then suggested the newly-qualified nurses might benefit from working outside Donegal.

He went on: "I understand that this will be disappointing news for many of you and that for some of you, travelling further afield to get work will be more challenging than for others.

"My own personal experience has been that this is also an opportunity for many of you to gain a wider understanding of your chosen profession and when you get the opportunity in the future to return to work here, you will do so with confidence in your abilities to bring a unique perspective to the service."

He added: "Thanks again and good luck with your endeavours in the future."

The PNA says it will meet tomorrow to discuss a response to the decision.

One of those affected by the decision, who asked not to be named, said: "It just seems so unfair. We were told four weeks ago that we were getting jobs as we graduated and then to be told we won't is devastating.

"We all just want to help others. Now I'll have to emigrate."

The HSE was unable to provide a statement last night.

Irish Independent

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