Just three nurses recruited this year for HSE relocation package

Retention a problem as ‘some who availed of the first part of the incentive left after six months’

According to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, there were 15 nurses recruited last year, down from 82 in 2016 and 20 in 2015. Photograph:  Frank Miller

According to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, there were 15 nurses recruited last year, down from 82 in 2016 and 20 in 2015. Photograph: Frank Miller

 

Just three nurses have been recruited so far this year as part of the HSE’s relocation package.

The “Bring them Home” campaign was put in place by the HSE in July 2015, offering Irish nurses working in Britain a relocation grant of €1,500 to return to the Irish public health service.

Since April 2017, an additional €1,500 is paid after a period of 12 months employment and subject to a commitment to remain in that employment for a further year. Last year, it was decided to extend the package beyond Britain to include nurses from any overseas location.

Recruitment is only one part of the story – retention is an even bigger part. The rate of pay is too low within a global market where you can get better rates

There were 15 nurses recruited last year, down from 82 in 2016 and 20 in 2015, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

The HSE said upon its announcement three years ago it was hoping to attract up to 500 staff under the initiative.

Incentivise

Irish Midwives and Nurses Organisation general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said that while it was important to have packages to incentivise Irish nurses to come back, the current offering was insufficient.

“The figures demonstrate that it doesn’t go far enough, it has to be much higher. In addition, the incentive to stay also has to be included,” she said.

“What we found is some who availed of the first part of the incentive left after six months. Recruitment is only one part of the story – retention is an even bigger part. The rate of pay is too low within a global market where you can get better rates.”

The HSE said it could not provide a comment on the figures at this time but pointed to the health service employment report published last May, which showed a 4.6 per cent increase in the number of nurses employed over the previous year, from 36,474 to 38,139.