The challenge faced by the HSE with recruitment and retention was acknowledged by the Executive’s interim Director General Ms Anne O’Connor at the recent National Health Summit.
Addressing the summit, Ms O’Connor noted that the health service was seeing a significant increase in industrial unrest.
“We have a very unsettled IR environment at the moment,” Ms O’Connor told delegates, “more unsettled than it has been in a long time. Nurses on strikes, ambulance service people who are not happy at the moment, we have GPs on protests. It is a very rocky road in terms of IR.”
Ms O’Connor also noted “very real recruitment challenges as well. We are not alone. On a European perspective, there is a huge shortfall of trained health professionals. When we go out to the market, it is an international market in terms of recruitment… This is a global challenge.”
Speaking in the questions and answers session after Ms O’Connor’s address, Dr Paddy Hillery, IMO NCHD Committee Chair, raised the retention and recruitment issue. He noted that the problem was worse, “especially considering the FEMPI cuts and other cuts to services” and the pay disparity for new-entrant consultants.
“How do you go about addressing the obvious major shortfall in staff?” Dr Hillery asked Ms O’Connor.
Ms O’Connor admitted it was challenging, adding “we don’t set pay scales and we have to manage within that”.
“The challenge for us is to use the resources that we have to best effect.”