HSE refuses vast majority of career break applications
Dr James Reilly: The Minister for Health said that applications for career breaks would be facilitated “to the greatest extent possible” subject to the operating requirement that services were not adversely affected.
The HSE has turned down the vast majority of applications for its three-year career break scheme, because the staff involved are in vital frontline services.
Some 2,730 applications were received by the deadline of May 31st for the scheme, which allows staff to receive an “incentive” payment of one-third of salary up to a maximum of €12,000 a year for three years while on leave.
These included 856 in the Dublin Mid-Leinster region, 434 in Dublin northeast, 520 in the south region and 509 in HSE West. Another 411 applications were received from corporate or national staff.
Many applications have been refused on the basis that staff are involved in the delivery of direct frontline services, a HSE spokeswoman said.
Indications so far are that about 80 per cent of applications have been refused in the south and west regions, while figures for the remaining areas are awaited.
In many cases, blanket decisions have been made by local health managers to refuse all applications on the basis that staff are working in frontline services.
Minister for Health James Reilly told the Dáil last week that applications for career breaks would be facilitated “to the greatest extent possible” subject to the operating requirement that services were not adversely affected.
Under its service plan for this year, the HSE plans to reduce staffing levels in the 100,000-strong health service by almost 4,000 this year. This target cannot be achieved by natural wastage alone.
The scheme, which starts in July, was approved by the Department of Public Expenditure as a way of cutting costs in the health service, which ran €360 million over budget last year.