Recruitment delays at hospital are ‘ridiculous’
Long delays in recruiting senior staff at Sligo University Hospital is contributing to lengthy waiting times for patients, according to Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny.
Kenny raised the issue of long delays in recruiting senior staff in public hospitals, with the Minister for Health Simon Harris TD in the Dáil last week, after hearing of the difficulties that Sligo University Hospital has experienced in getting approval for appointing Consultants.
Deputy Kenny said, “The recruitment of a consultant takes at least nine months from when the position is advertised in the public hospital system, while in a voluntary hospital the process takes closer to nine weeks.
“Very often the HSE tell us that the staff do not apply or cannot be found for senior positions in our hospitals; however that is not the complaint we found in Sligo, it is the length of the recruitment process and the slow stages set out by the HSE that are delaying appointments.
“The example was given in Sligo, that where a similar consultant position is advertised at the same time in public hospital and in a voluntary hospital; it was filled in just over two months in the voluntary hospital while it was over a year being processed in the public HSE system.
“This needs urgent attention, these delays are ridiculous and will the Minister please review this process of recruitment and remove the blocks and make the appointment of staff easier and faster in our public hospitals.” Demanded Deputy Kenny.
Minister Harris replied, “I will look at the issue and the HSE is already looking at how it can streamline its recruitment process. It is worth saying, however, that despite the recruitment challenges, we have more doctors and nurses working in the health services this year than last year and had more last year than the year before. We are always looking at ways to further streamline the process.”
Deputy Kenny added: “Voluntary hospitals which are mainly owned by private bodies work under different rules to the hospitals owned by the state.
“They can bypass many of the stages that cause delays in recruiting in the public hospitals, because once they get approval to appoint staff they can move ahead themselves and employ the consultant.
“In the public hospitals, the recruitment of consultants is done centrally, by the HSE through the Consultant Appointments Advisory Committee and the Public Appointment Service.
“While standards must be upheld, some more efficiency needs to be applied to this system and get our hospitals the senior staff needed so badly in a timely manner.”