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'Unavoidable reduction' in health services on the way - Reilly

The health minister said the HSE will have lost 4,200 staff, but insisted this would not lead to unsafe services.

James Reilly
James Reilly
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THERE WILL BE an “unavoidable reduction” in health services following the retirements of thousands of workers, Minister James Reilly has said.

The health minister said the most recent information indicates that around 4,200 staff will have left the service between September last year and the end of this month. This corresponds to roughly 3,700 full-time jobs, he said.

But Reilly rejected suggestions from Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin that there would be “huge difficulties” in the HSE following the retirements.

“There will be an unavoidable reduction in services this year,” he said, but added he was “satisfied sufficient arrangements are in place to proactively manage the transition”.

“There is no way we’re going to have an unsafe service,” Reilly told the Dáil this afternoon.

He said a ‘transition team’ was already in place and he had met with key HSE directors last night on how to manage the impact of retirements.

Emergency departments, maternity and neo-natal care, and intensive care units would be prioritised as “areas of high risk” as the HSE copes with the reduced staffing, he said, adding that some key positions would be “backfilled” after people retire.

Reilly added that there was “an onus” on staff and managers to be “as innovative and flexible as possible.” “A service can be delivered with different types of rosters and different types of skill mixes than we currently have,” he said.

More: Over 2,000 to retire from health service by end of month>

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Michael Freeman

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