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Government to outsource senior management positions at two hospitals

James Reilly says he had tried to fill vacancies at hospitals in Galway and Limerick internally, before considering external candidates.

THE DEPARTMENT of Health is outsourcing a number of senior management positions at two western regional hospitals to private companies.

A spokesperson for the department confirmed to today that a tender process is underway to temporarily fill management vacancies at University Hospital Galway and Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick, with external staff who will report to the HSE.

Four of the five companies involved in the tender process are based in the UK, while the fifth is Irish.

The move is part of wider efforts to strengthen hospital management and deal with the problems that need to be addressed at the hospitals, including long patient queues on trolleys, according to the department spokesperson.

‘External management expertise’

Minister James Reilly said in an interview with Galway Bay FM today that an internal recruitment process was undertaken to fill a number of management slots at the Galway and Limerick hospitals, but that the process was largely unsuccessful and vacancies remain at both.

“We’re bringing in external managerial expertise to do three things: manage the hospital, grow new management underneath them, and upskill management across HSE West,” the minister said.

For me and my department, the bottom line is about patients. More patients treated and more quickly and [with] better outcomes. And I am not over-exercised about how we get to achieve this as long as we get the outcomes.

The IMPACT trade union has raised concerns over the plans. In a letter to the minister, IMPACT national secretary Louise O’Donnell said that unions had not been consulted on the move and questioned whether the plans were an effort to bypass the public service recruitment moratorium and public sector pay guides.

“If this is the case, which seems likely, this would put the Department in breach of the terms of the Croke Park Agreement,” O’Donnell wrote.

“Any attempt to get around caps on public service pay would be disingenuous, and not in the best interests of the hospital and the communities it serves.”

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