Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

Written Answers - Hospital Staff

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 500 Next Page Last Page

 25.  Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  his views in response to claims from senior management concerning the capacity to ensure safe deliveries of new born babies continue in the context of the cuts in mid wife numbers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16212/12]

 37.  Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  if he is confident that maternity services continue to be delivered safely following the conclusion of the early retirement scheme; if he will be recruiting additional staff to ensure that standards are maintained; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16492/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 25 and 37 together.

The impact of the recent retirements requires a range of strategic national responses, together with specific local responses. I have requested the HSE to prioritise the ongoing delivery of safe services for patients and to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to ensure the avoidance of risk in the delivery of services for patients.

Planning for the delivery of health services is undertaken within the context of the annual National Service Planning process. This process ensures that all factors, including budgets and staffing levels and any other emerging issues, including the impact of the retirements are factored into the plan for what services will be delivered within the coming year. To meet these challenges and to implement the National Service Plan, the HSE has drafted detailed regional plans which will take account of the effect of the reduction in both staff numbers and budgets, as well as addressing the service areas identified for priority development under the plan. Local contingency plans were also developed for all local hospital and community services. Briefings with staff, unions, public representatives and other stakeholders has also taken place.

Detailed planning for retirements in the period to the end of February 2012 commenced in October last and has also been intensified at local service level as the numbers and locations of those leaving have become clearer. The plans reflect the fact that the number of staff leaving varied from region to region and from service to service. The HSE’s main aim has been to protect critical frontline essential services, including maternity services, and there are a range of national measures in place to reduce the impact of the retirements on these services.

The HSE is continuing to utilize the provisions of the Public Service Agreement 2010 to 2014 (the “Croke Park Agreement”) as it seeks to change staff rosters, work practices and to redeploy staff. This will assist in minimising the service impact. Contingency plans to address the impact of the retirements also focus on staff redeployment, streamlining, delivering Greater Productivity through the National Clinical Programmes and the related work of the Special Delivery Unit.

There are a number of additional allocations set out in the HSE’s National Service plan that will assist in minimising the impact of the retirements on services, to include:

[704] Focused Recruitment for critical posts vacated will be undertaken (within the context of the cost containment plans and budgets for each service).

Agency staff may be used where there is a critical requirement. Any reliance on agency staff will be in the context of the HSE’s objective to reduce overall agency costs by 50% in 2012.

The National Service plan in 2012 also makes provision for some conversion of agency costs into whole time equivalent staff which will be explored in limited circumstances where local budgets allow.

The HSE has assured me that the implementation of the contingency plans is continuing to be monitored and that maternity services continue to be delivered safely following the conclusion of the early retirement scheme. I will continue to work with the HSE to ensure that these measures are implemented and that we continue to provide efficient safe maternity services throughout the country, with patient safety remaining my first priority.


Last Updated: 24/08/2015 11:10:36 First Page Previous Page Page of 500 Next Page Last Page