A local TD is calling on the Government to include frontline nursing staff in a proposed new voluntary redundancy package for employees in the wider public service.
Deputy Noel Grealish says, while the recent €400 million HSE exit scheme targeted administrative and support personnel, it excluded nurses.
“Under the original package staff were offered redundancy terms of three weeks’ pay per year of service, capped at two years’ salary,” he says. “However, the number of health service personnel who took up this offer was about 1,750, a considerably lower number than the Government’s original estimate of 5,000.
“While welcoming the prospect of a new voluntary package for staff in the wider public service, I will be urging the Minister concerned to make it available to frontline nursing staff in the HSE. From discussions I have had, I am aware of several instances where nurses who have completed 35 years’ service or more would be interested in a suitable voluntary redundancy package.”
By allowing nurses to avail of this the Government would open up vacancies for newly qualified nurses seeking jobs, he outlines.
“Ireland has long been recognised universally for producing some of the world’s best nursing staff yet because of the current embargo on staff recruitment most of our newly qualified and highly skilled nurses have to emigrate to find employment.
“It seems to me that making an attractive voluntary redundancy package available to those nurses who want it while at the same time creating new employment opportunities for newly qualified nurses, makes sense at every level. That is why I intend contacting Minister Dara Calleary and putting this proposal to him as a matter of priority.”
The original HSE exit schemes were introduced in a bid to reduce management and administrative staff by up to 5,000 and save €200m a year.
They are part of the Government’s four-year recovery plan aimed at cutting the number of public servants by almost 25,000 to 294,700 by the end of 2014.