'This is outrageous' - Unions hit out at the HSE over the suspension of hospital recruitment

The INMO has spoken out on behalf of their members

'This is outrageous' - Unions hit out at the HSE over the suspension of hospital recruitment

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The HSE have announced that doctors, nurses and midwives would not be recruited until further notice, and no further expressions of interest or formal job offers would be made.

The full statement reads:

"Pending agreement and approval of a workforce plan for each Hospital Group, the groups have been advised of a requirement to pause on any further additions to payroll."

It also states that while contractual agreements would have to be upheld, it also advises that 'no further offers should be made without the signed agreement of the Hospital Group CEO.'

The move has been greeted with ire among respective unions with some saying that imposing a pause on the hiring of vital medical staff, could worsen the already congested situation in Irish hospitals.

Speaking on the Newstalk Lunchtime with Jonathan Healy, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) deputy general secretary, David Hughes said:

"This is outrageous to be quite frank. We're in a situation where the health service is grossly understaffed. They are currently engaging about 652 nurses and midwives on a weekly basis from agencies to cover the slots that absolutely have to be filled."

"This sends all the wrong messages and it leaves an already understaffed health service going into a total crisis. It will have a long term effect and it will affect patient care."

Hughes went on to say that the timing of the move collides with the measures being implemented to try and replenish staff numbers in hospitals. 

"There aren't enough staff to cater for the existing demand so the hospitals themselves have identified big numbers of vacancies which they cannot fill and they have been going out seeking to fill those vacancies and in the middle of it we get a pause on recruitment."

"The international recruiters who are here will have a bonanza because those who are trying to make their minds up have just had it made up for them by the HSE."

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has also condemned the move, calling it a 'hammer blow' to efforts to tackle the crisis in hospitals.

The organisation's president Dr John Duddy said: "We are experiencing unprecedented difficulty in encouraging doctors to work in our public health service and in these circumstances it is ironic that the message from the HSE is don’t bother to apply – there is no future in Irish public hospitals.

"This is an affront to everyone working in the health service and will convince doctors that there is no future in an under resourced health service".