Health jobs ‘freeze’ slammed

The ban on recruitment in the health service which was revealed on Wednesday could have serious implications in Roscommon.    That’s according to Roscommon/South Leitrim Fine Gael Deputy Denis Naughten who said this week that election promises are already being broken by the newly-elected Government.    Deputy Naughten was responding to RTE’s claims on Wednesday – which have not been contested by the HSE – that a ban on recruitment within the health service has been imposed. It is allegedly put in place with a view to curbing overspending of some €170m.    Deputy Naughten, who said the situation was ‘unclear and unsatisfactory,’ added that the recruitment of Public Health Nurses, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Psyshologists and other grades are affected and claimed that a lot of posts in these areas will now go unfilled.   ‘On top of all that, there are posts which are in the process of being filled and the situation there is unclear too. It is hard enough to fill these posts in the first place without this happening.    ‘I know of one physiotherapist post that was filled recently after a long time waiting but I am not sure whether the contract can be signed now’ said Deputy Naughten   ‘The big focus of the HSE policy is primary care. Professor (Brendan) Drumm says that the establishment of primary care teams is a central lynchpin of HSE policy but that’s all in ruins now following this announcement. The funny thing is that there is no halt in the recruitment of staff to the administration headquarters in Naas, which is a scandal’ he continued.    Deputy Naughten says that we have been in this situation before with the Government and the health authorities.    ‘The last time we had a crisis of this magnitude was in 2002 after the general election when ward closures were mentioned. All the great things we heard during the election campaign with regard to the health service have been forgotten now and we are heading for a crisis again.    ‘The election promises that were made with regard to the health service have already being broken and we are only a few months into the new administration’ said Deputy Naughten.   ‘I will be raising this issue as fast as I can when the new Dail term gets underway. In the meantime it looks like there will be no recruitment to the health service in the short to medium term’ he concluded.