Health | Ensuring adequate health professionals
To ask the Minister for Health the action that is being taken to ensure the availability of an adequate number of health professionals within the health services including but not limited to consultants, general practitioners and nurses to meet the demand in all areas throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Employment levels at the end of May 2022, show there were 134,711 WTE (equating to 153,578 personnel) directly employed in the provision of Health and Social Care Services by the HSE and the various Section 38 hospitals and agencies.
Since 2019, the workforce has grown by a record 14,893 WTE or 12.4%. It is continuing to grow at an unprecedented rate and is on track to grow by 5,500 WTE this year, this would equate to a growth of 4%. To put that in context, the workforce has grown by a total of 2,387 WTE since the end of 2021, with an increase in May of 138 WTEs.
The HSE Resourcing Strategy (2022) sets out the detailed approach and suite of actions to target and deliver the expansion of the workforce. It also sets out the overarching governance and oversight arrangements in place to monitor progress monthly and to identify further focused actions as required in specific areas. The HSE have comprehensive and far-reaching international recruitment campaigns targeting all professions, whereby international reach has extended further into new countries to harness new markets.
In addition to the suite of actions set out in the HSE Resourcing Strategy (2022), the below will also be of interest to the Deputy, as it sets out some of the focused activities underway as part of monthly monitoring and targeted actions.
- A relocation package has been developed by the HSE to ease international recruitment across all grades.
- The critical skills list has been expanded to facilitate and support the international recruitment of Pharmacist, Cardiac Physiologist, Medical Scientist, Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, Podiatrist/Chiropodist, Psychologist and Speech & Language Therapist.
- A review of international recruitment campaigns for specialist posts, such as nursing and midwifery specialists has been undertaken.
- A Health and Social Care Professions (HSCP) recruitment action group has been established within the HSE. The work of this group is to build on the planned recruitment of the Irish HSCP graduates, that is already underway.
- Collaboration with the HSCP regulator CORU to identify further actions to support international applicants, now at a much higher number and across more varied grades through the registration process.
Targeted work is on-going in relation to the recruitment of medical consultants which has included streamlining of the recruitment process to reduce the times to hire, but also focusing on existing consultant posts that are challenging to fill and developing targeted strategies around these posts. This is inclusive of the development of marketing material to attract applications to certain locations and direct links with the postgraduate training bodies. A microsite is also in development to increase international reach in this cadre of staff.
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