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Dublin: 5°C Friday 18 June 2021

"Chickens coming home to roost" as HSE searches for foreign specialist nurses

The INMO says that Irish nurses were “allowed emigrate” rather than being trained.

Image: sfam_photo via Shutterstock

IRISH NURSES WERE “allowed emigrate” rather than being trained as specialists, meaning the HSE has had to recruit nurses from abroad.

That is the view of David Hughes, the Deputy General Secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

The executive is to tender for an agency to recruit 88 specialist nurses, with skills in intensive and critical care and theatre care, a move that has been criticised by Hughes.

He says that the implementation of the recruitment moratorium in the HSE had prevented Irish nurses from being trained in the specialities.

“This is chickens coming home to roost. The moratorium has been applied in a totally unplanned way and the foreseen shortages in the specialist area have come through.

“Instead of putting the training courses in place to train Irish nurses, they were allowed emigrate and now the HSE is going with the more expensive option of hiring in foreign nurses.”

Nurses recruited from abroad carry additional costs in terms of agency fees and the cost of foreign interviews.

Hughes added that morale among nurses is at “all-time low” due to dropping staff numbers, pay cuts and longer hours.


The HSE confirmed that it will tender for the nurses, citing a worldwide shortage of specialists workers.

“The HSE has invited tender submissions from suitably qualified organisations (e.g. recruitment agencies) for appointment to a Framework Agreement for the International Recruitment of Specialist nurses to the HSE.

“There is a worldwide shortage of nurses with this specialist experience and there is an immediate requirement for Theatre and Critical Care Specialties nurses nationwide.

“Currently the HSE is seeking 54 theatre nurses and 34 critical care posts to be filled nationally across the HSE. Nurses recruited could be posted to any acute HSE hospital with a requirement for staff nurses with the experience outlined above.”

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