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HSE predicts specialist recruitment ‘challenges’

Challenges with recruitment for specialist and professional posts in 2021 were raised at the January meeting of the HSE people and culture committee. The issue was discussed at the committee’s 20 January meeting, minutes of which have been seen by the Medical Independent following a Freedom of Information request.

National Director of Human Resources Ms Anne Marie Hoey told the meeting that recruitment numbers in 2020 “have likely surpassed what was initially anticipated”.

“For further recruitment in 2021, it will be essential to identify where there is workforce available as part of the strategic approaches,” according to the minutes.

The meeting heard that in 2021 “there may be challenges around specialist and professional posts at both promotion and entry level”.

“To mitigate this a robust international recruitment framework is being put into place to supplement the supply in the domestic market. Additionally, a campaign to fill posts from our own pool of employees and then backfilling posts with new grads will be utilised,” according to the minutes.

The committee also “stressed the importance of coming up with innovative solutions to encourage recruitment in specialised posts in more rural areas”.

Reform of public health doctor contracts was “a matter of ongoing discussions” with the Department of Health, the minutes also noted. Meanwhile, the “high rate of absences” among employees due to having Covid-19 or being a close contact was discussed.

“In response to a question it was noted that absences due to stress are currently not measured and are included in the overall absence figures.”

There was further discussion regarding what the HSE could do to “support staff more adequately” and “advocate” on their behalf.

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