Press Release

Minister Harris – Recruitment plans are an absolutely essential priority for the health service this year

Minister of Health Simon Harris addressed the Annual Delegate Conference of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation today and said that recruitment and retention plans are an absolute priority for the health service this year.

The Minister said “I wish to reaffirm once again my absolute commitment to the implementation of this agreement. I have heard loud and clear from your union that we are only going to succeed if we attach the kind of priority to recruitment and retention that has never been seen before and that is exactly what we are doing. These are not just soothing political words. My statement of commitment is matched by an unprecedented direction to the HSE.

I, as Minister for Health, have issued a written direction to the HSE under Section 10 of the Health Act 2004 regarding implementation of the 2017 Nursing and Midwifery Funded Workforce Plan. This is a rarely used legal provision whereby the Minister of the day can issue a direction with which the HSE must comply. This Section 10 direction will be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas and will be lodged with the WRC.

Furthermore, this afternoon, I wish to confirm that a circular outlining the provisions of this agreement, including confirmation of the delegation of recruitment to Directors of Nursing has been issued by the HSE.

Under the direction I have issued, the HSE must report to me on the performance and implementation of these arrangements as part of the 2017 National Service Plan. The HSE will also have to provide special reports by June, September and December 2017 on the recruitment of the posts provided in the workforce plan. These quarterly reports will also be shared with the INMO and lodged with the WRC.

Arrangements are firmly in train for the establishment of the High Level Group to oversee the implementation of the agreement – senior officials within the HSE and Department of Health will be represented at this Group along with your chosen representatives – and we have proposed the first meeting of the group will take place this month.

Let me send a very clear message today: delivering on the implementation of this agreement and these recruitment plans is not an optional extra but an absolutely essential priority for the health service this year. I cannot be clearer than that.

We are committed to:

  • The funded workforce plan increasing the nursing and midwifery workforce in 2017, delivering 1,208 additional permanent posts;
  • Conversion of agency employed staff into HSE direct employees;
  • Offering all graduating nurses and midwives full time contracts – and this afternoon I wish to announce that the health service will be writing directly to each of those student nurses in the coming days to tell them this and outline the next steps.

The Irish health service needs these graduate nurses and this letter will tell them that.”

ENDS

Minister Harris’s address at the INMO’s Annual Delegate Conference