Almost half of nurses who came home under HSE recruitment scheme have left again, INMO claims

The HSE has spent around €250,000 on the scheme, which has attracted just 88 nurses to Ireland.

Almost half of nurses who came home under HSE recruitment scheme have left again, INMO claims

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Around half the nurses who came here under the HSE's recruitment scheme have already left again, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

The HSE has spent quarter of a million euro on the scheme since July 2015, attracting just 88 nurses.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show the HSE has given €200,000 to two recruitment firms in a bid to bring nurses back to Ireland.

They have spent a further €44,000 on advertising and a mini-website.

But it is not working - with around 40 of the 88 nurses recruited reportedly having already left.

One newly qualified nurse, Aoife Kiernan, says it is an issue of pay - but also conditions and morale.

"I actually never forgot on my very first day, one of the first nurses I met told me to stop and get out. That is a very tough pill to follow."

Aileen Mulvihil now works in a hospital in London - and says the HSE haven't approached her about coming back

"I want to come home," she explained. "I've never seen anything put in play to say 'you're an overseas Irish nurse, here's what we'd offer you to come home."

There's competition from abroad for Irish nurses with foreign hospitals making good offers.

However, private Irish hospitals are also offering sign on bonuses for those returning, and payments to current staff who recommend a new nurse - which is making it hard for the HSE to compete.