London hospital woos Irish nurses with massages and perks
Subsidised rent, childcare vouchers - even body massages - are being offered to Irish nurses by executives from the famous Great Ormond Street Hospital in London in a new recruitment drive.
Senior staff from the hospital, including Irish nurses already working there, will be among the delegation of health agencies from the UK at a major recruitment fair in Dublin this weekend.
It comes as new figures obtained by the Irish Independent reveal St James's Hospital in Dublin is 100 nurses short of HSE-agreed staffing ratios, while Tallaght Hospital is without 40. Around the country hospitals are also suffering shortages with Portlaoise Hospital needing 22 nurses and Naas Hospital 15.
A spokeswoman for Great Ormond Street Hospital said: "An additional state-of-the-art building means the hospital is launching a huge recruitment drive.
"Historically, the hospital has consistently recruited large numbers of nurses from Ireland who are valued members of our clinical teams due to their excellent training, clinical skills, knowledge and commitment.
"Working at Great Ormond Street Hospital offers great opportunities for nurses looking to specialise - we say that we don't offer jobs, we offer careers."
The starting salary ranges from €27,844 to €36,172. It has an additional top-up of 20pc because the hospital is based in a high-cost area.
In order to reduce the burden of high rents, the hospital has invested in the development of high-quality reasonably priced accommodation in surrounding areas.
It is offering "very reasonably priced rooms in shared flats, single rooms and, increasingly, housing for couples and families".
New nurses who are starting out are offered subsidised accommodation for between 18 months and two years.
For nurses who have children, the hospital subsidises an on-site nursery.
"We also offer childcare vouchers and employ a childcare services manager to help find the right childcare solutions to meet needs," said the spokeswoman.
As part of its well-being programme, staff have access to free on-site staff physiotherapy, free staff counselling and subsidised body massages.
There are also discounts from shops and gyms thrown in.
The hospital delegation will be among 55 Irish, UK, Australian and Singaporean exhibitors competing to recruit Irish and Irish-based healthcare staff at the RDS in Dublin on Saturday.
It is organised by Heath Sector Jobs, a healthcare recruitment company.
Other hospitals in the UK are offering incentive packages worth up to €10,000.
The strong competition for the HSE, which is also desperate for staff, threatens to lure even more nurses abroad, despite the serious impact a shortage of staff is having on waiting lists and clinics.
Co Limerick nurse Catherine O'Sullivan, who moved to London to join Great Ormond Street Hospital two years ago, said: "My dream was to go to a centre of excellence and I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge, experience and skills since coming to work here."
Pre-registration is required for the fair and entry is free. Details can be found at www.healthsectorjobs.com/Dublin