QUESTION to the Minister for Health (Mr Leo Varadkar, TD)
For WRITTEN ANSWER on 02/12/2014
To ask the Minister for Health further to the announcement in budget 2015 of the targeted ending of the public sector recruitment moratorium, the number of additional frontline healthcare staff expected to be recruited in 2015; the impact recruitment will have on the amount spent on agency staff; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer T.D.
The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform announced in the budget that he intended to delegate greater autonomy to Departments and Agencies to manage their own staffing levels. From 2015 Departments and Agencies will have discretion over staffing levels within the overall framework of their pay budget. This policy change will give HSE management greater autonomy to manage their own staffing profile. The change from a rigid employment control framework with a moratorium on recruitment to a focus on achieving the most cost-effective staffing profile within an allocated pay framework will allow for recruitment where it is determined that this can achieve more economical service delivery, such as through the replacement of agency staff by staff on fixed term contracts of employment.
There is an identified need to achieve savings on agency expenditure within the HSE. Management of health spending within available resources next year will require an exceptional management focus with strict adherence by all services and budget holders to their allocations.The HSE has issued a memorandum to management on measures to reduce agency usage and costs across the HSE and HSE funded acute hospital services. It provides for the replacement of NCHD and Consultant agency with fixed term contracts of employment, and limits reliance on doctors employed on an agency basis. It also provides for the identification of nursing posts currently filled by agency staff which could be directly replaced by two year contracts of employment.