The vacant HSE posts in Donegal include The posts include clerical positions, a consultant, nurses, speech and language therapists and more
There are over 100 posts waiting to be filled in community health facilities across Donegal.
The posts include clerical positions, a consultant, nurses, speech and language therapists, social workers and physiotherapists.
The list of vacancies was released by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to Donegal TD Thomas Pringle following a Dáil question in which he asked for the number of posts “on hold” in Donegal.
Deputy Pringle said the number of posts not filled is shocking and is due to a recruitment freeze.
He said in many cases candidates have been interviewed, told they were successful but have still not been appointed.
The list is for the number of posts “currently awaiting decision” in the Donegal Community Health Organisations (CHO) and does not include vacancies at Letterkenny University Hospital.
The number of vacancies at the hospital was requested at last week’s Regional Health Forum West by Donegal councillor Gerry McMonagle, but he was told the information was not available for the meeting.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organistaion (INMO) said it is awaiting an update from hospital management on the number of vacancies.
Minister for Health Simon Harris has said hospital groups which had not submitted plans in line with their budgets were being told that they could not recruit more staff until they did so.
Deputy Pringle said that as the figures do not relate to Letterkenny University Hospital, the full picture is much worse.
“There is a recruitment embargo right across the HSE that the Government denies is there and this shows the stark reality of it. From the figures, you can see it is very extensive as well and apart from anything else it is the equivalent of a multinational in Donegal closing down.
No response on figures - Letterkenny University Hospital
“I think this is due to the HSE spending as normal and the Government’s attempts to control it which in the longer term will cost more because as they try to control expenditure by not recruiting people, people are going to get more sick and ultimately it will end up costing more.
“The Government has been denying that there is a recruitment freeze for the last number of months but we knew the posts were not being filled because services were not expanding.
“The more worrying thing is that in most cases people have been interviewed and were successful but they have not been appointed. If they have gone through the process but not been appointed they may have to emigrate or go for a job somewhere else.”
INMO industrial relations officer Muara Hickey said the union is awaiting an update on the number of nursing vacancies in Letterkenny.
“In some cases people have been interviewed for posts and been successful but not offered the job because of a recruitment pause. There is a second cohort of nurses and midwives who have been offered the job, accepted the job and they are waiting for sign off nationally. These jobs are the priority because once you are offered a job in writing and accept it in writing a contract exists that has to be honoured.”
If posts are not filled, patients and service users are at risk, she said. “It means you have patients in corridors and backlogs in EDs and day services with no additional staff.”
Cllr McMonagle said:“It is highly unusual not to get a response and I have still no response from the hospital.
“We need to get the embargo lifted and proper staffing in place. That is why we are having increasing numbers of people lying on trolleys, waiting for beds. They can’t have beds because of the lack of staff and we can’t get staff because of a recruitment embargo.”