The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly had expected a HSE review of the National Service Plan 2022 (NSP) to include a “single figure” for anticipated recruitment this year and greater detail on expected delivery of reforms based on recruitment levels.
A first quarter review of the NSP, sent to the Minister on 1 June, warned that recruitment targets would be difficult to achieve given “significant market supply challenges/unpredictable workforce supply”.
The HSE’s review concluded it was “confident that at a minimum” its recruitment policies would result in an additional 5,500 whole-time equivalent (WTE) staff by year end. This was the “minimum resourcing target” in the NSP 2022, but the HSE would “aggressively strive towards the stretch target” of 10,500 additional WTEs.
In a letter dated 29 July to HSE Chair Mr Ciarán Devane, the Minister wrote he “had envisaged that the review would provide a single figure for overall anticipated recruitment, a quantification of the savings arising where this figure was lower than the maximum funded level, and a consideration of expected delivery of reform based on this level of recruitment”.
Minister Donnelly continued: “However, I do note the approach taken with the retention of the recruitment range methodology and I am aware that my officials are actively monitoring this in the context of the recently agreed pay and numbers strategy.”
The Department would continue to monitor progress on service delivery and reforms in 2022 through the Department-HSE performance engagement model, he added.
“On this basis I am prepared to accept the review as submitted, but I ask that the board put focus on recruitment for the remainder of the year….”
The correspondence was obtained through Freedom of Information law.