HSE's recruitment drive in UK only lures 92 nurses back home
A HSE recruitment campaign aiming to attract hundreds of Irish nurses back to work in hospitals here has only succeeded in getting 92 to take up full-time jobs.
It comes as all graduating nurses are being offered jobs in the health service here from the autumn, where vacancies exist or there is reliance on agency staff.
But given the poor take-up of many nursing jobs here, it remains unclear how many of these new graduates will accept the offers.
Many hospitals remain desperate for experienced nurses but cannot recruit them in the numbers they need.
A spokesman for the HSE said yesterday there are around 630 vacancies for nurses.
He said as of May 27, some 92 nurses had availed of the incentive package which was offered as part of the move to attract nurses home from the UK. It includes free flights and a promise of additional training.
However, hospitals in the UK are offering more competitive packages and take-home pay is higher there due to the levels of taxation.
The spokesman said the HSE's UK campaign is still in place.
The lack of nurses has been blamed for contributing to delays suffered by patients in emergency departments and also contributing to long waiting lists. Liam Doran of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (NMO) said the HSE had guaranteed full-time jobs to all fourth year students who graduate this September.
The union had consistently sought permanent posts, for all graduates, in recent years due to the staffing crisis, he added.
Meanwhile, The Psychiatric Nurses' Association has agreed to attend talks at the Workplace Relations Commission next week in a bid to resolve the dispute over pay and conditions for members.
The union executive yesterday said it would enter talks to discuss productivity required to secure a €5,000 payment for community mental health nurses, which was discontinued for new entrants in 2012.
It will continue its work-to-rule but will not escalate its industrial action to an overtime ban, which would have had a severe impact on services for patients.
It wants the issue of incremental credit for nurses who graduated between 2011 and 2015 addressed.
It said that there are currently 600 unfilled vacancies for psychiatric nurses and this will deteriorate further when 400 retire.
The union is calling for the recruitment of more nurses and also better quality working conditions to hold on to existing nurses. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has approved the €5,000 payment, subject to certain productivity concessions which have not yet been finalised.