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HSE recruitment freeze extended for almost all categories

HSE chief Bernard Gloster said the service is on course to “exceed its funded workforce target”.

THE HEALTH SERVICE Executive has extended its hiring freeze to all areas, with only a few exceptions, according to a memo seen by The Journal

In a memo written to senior managers, HSE chief executive Bernard Gloster said the service is on course to “exceed its funded workforce target” and that no further contracts are to be entered into. 

Exceptions include consultants and doctors in training, as well as graduate nurses and midwives.

“We have arrived at the point where we need to address the fact that we are on course to exceed our 2023 funded workforce target, and this is neither affordable or sustainable,” the memo said.

“There are to be no further offers made or obligations entered into, in respect of an posts excluding Consultant appointments and Graduate Nurses and Midwives and Doctors in formal approved Training programmes.

“This move is necessary only because we know now that by year end we will have reached our 2023 ambitions for recruitment.”

Gloster also said that the HSE would be consolidating its workforce next year.

“In 2024 we will be consolidating our now unprecedented and expanded workforce and range of services they provide,” he said. 

“I would like to emphasise that there is no reduction in ambition here for the future. 2024 will bring an additional allocation to the workforce 2,268 WTE (Whole-time Equivalent),” he said, adding that this would exclude disability services. 

The decision to impose a recruitment freeze was taken by Gloster last month after the Department of Health employed over 200 more staff members than it had planned or budgeted for this year.

Yesterday The Journal reported that the INMO (Irish Nurses and Midwives Association) intended to engage with its members to consider taking industrial action in response to indications that the hiring freeze would be extended. 

In a statement, INMO executives said the announcement of the recruitment freeze extension came “without documentation and without consultation with the union”.

“A request for a meeting with the HSE, was declined,” it added. 

“INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “This recruitment freeze represents a serious error on the part of the employer, and the impact on the provision of care is going to be disastrous.

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