Revealed: How many nurses €250k HSE campaign lured home
A HSE recruitment campaign, which only succeeded in wooing 88 Irish nurses home from the UK, cost €250,000, it emerged yesterday.
The 'Bring Them Home' campaign was aimed at attracting 500 of the 7,500 nurses who emigrated to the UK in recent years back to Irish hospitals.
However, the full expense has only now emerged. It included paying €198,000 to recruitment agencies but failed to deliver a substantial number of candidates to hospitals which are desperate to fill nursing vacancies.
Audrey Doyle, a HSE official in the human resources division, said advertising, as well as the design and build costs of a microsite, cost the campaign around €44,200.
The campaign, which was launched in June 2015, is "ongoing".
It involved a dedicated website, nursingireland.ie, she said in a parliamentary response to Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary.
The recruitment agencies co-ordinated interviews and 88 nurses in total were recruited, she added.
The campaign offered an incentive package worth around €1,500 which remains in place. It is meant as a contribution to the cost of flights, nursing board registration and further education.
The ongoing shortage of nurses remains one of the factors behind spiralling hospital waiting lists and the trolley crisis.
The €250,000 outlay does not include the cost of recruitment drives undertaken by individual hospitals or hospital groups.
Meanwhile, separate figures obtained by Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher showed the HSE appointed almost three new managers every week in the first half of 2017.
He said: "If there is one area of the health service where the HSE has no difficulty recruiting, it's in the managerial area. While they struggle to fill white coats, they seem to have a special talent for increasing the numbers of white-collar staff."
At the end of November, there were 1,075 officials at the rank of national director, assistant national director, general manager or grade 8. By the end of June, however, their numbers had risen to 1,159 - an increase of 84. Mr Kelleher said the rise in managers came as staff shortages and patient services suffered elsewhere in the health service.