The HSE’s recruitment freeze in certain areas will put “real pressures on hospitals”, Sinn Féin has said.
Budget 2024 saw spending on the health service increase to €22.5 billion - a rise in core expenditure of €808 million.
Despite the increase, HSE CEO Bernard Gloster wrote to staff informing them the health service “faces a period where its funded level which, while quite high, is not adequate for all current costs”.
Restrictions have been placed on the hiring of junior doctors and other staff members, a decision Sinn Féin said is already affecting the quality of care.
“Already we’re getting reports back in from hospitals across the State as to the impact of that recruitment embargo will have on services and management of hospitals having to make very tough decisions,” health spokesperson David Cullinane said.
“We know that 7,000 jobs which were meant to be funded next year will now not be funded and they’ve been scrapped.
“With the recruitment embargo, that will place real pressures on hospitals.”
'Really bite and bite hard'
Last year, a report concluded the HSE would need an additional 15,500 staff by 2035 and Deputy Cullinane said the Government needs to be upfront with the public about the consequences of the recruitment freeze.
“We need honesty in relation to what impact this very dramatic underfunding of the health service will have next year,” he said.
“We know already that measures have been put in place to have an embargo on some elements of the frontline - including on training on junior doctors, healthcare assistants, home helps.
“These are areas that will really bite and bite hard over the next number of weeks.”
In a statement to Newstalk, the HSE said certain positions were exempt from the freeze and this would "ensure impact to services and patients is at a minimum".
Main image: A nurse with an elderly patient.