Up to 50% of nurses hired under UK drive again take flight

Only 90 recruited in push but Government to offer permanent jobs to graduates

About half of all nurses and midwives recruited over the last year by the HSE as part of a campaign to encourage Irish graduates to return from the UK have left again.

The scheme introduced in July 2015 by the HSE sought to attract up to 500 Irish nurses and midwives working in the UK and further afield to return home and to take up posts in the public health service here.

However only about 90 staff were recruited as part of the campaign, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) .

INMO general secretary Liam Doran said on Wednesday that about half of these nurses and midwives ultimately left again for various reasons.


“The net yield from the scheme was about 45 nurses and midwives,” he said.

The HSE said last night said that 92 nurses were recruited under the UK recruitment campaign introduced last year.

“We do not have data on how many of these 92 are still working in the hospital system,” said the HSE.

Under the UK recruitment scheme, nurses and midwives were offered a tax-free relocation package of up to €1,500 to cover expenses such as flights, cost of registering for the first time with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, funded postgraduate education and incremental credit for experience gained outside Ireland.


The HSE also said that as part of a new recruitment initiative hospital management across the country had been authorised to offer permanent posts to all fourth-year nursing graduates where vacancies existed or where agency costs could be displaced.

About 1,500 student nurses s are expected to graduate in Ireland this year.

However the INMO said that in its experience about 70 per cent of those who commenced work in the Irish public health system left after about six months.

There are about 35,000 nurses working in the HSE, voluntary hospitals and other parts of the public health service.

About 800 nurses and midwives retire annually.

Mr Doran said that issues such as pay, conditions, working hours and staffing levels would have to be addressed to tackle the problem of recruitment and retention of nurses in the public health service.

He said the numbers of young people applying to the CAO to go into nursing was up by about 10 per cent, but difficulties remained in retaining nurses and midwives after they graduated.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent