The HSE is offering relocation packages of more than €4,000 to health staff working abroad, in a bid a woo them to come and work here.
The relocation package being offered to health workers in the EU includes up to €3,910 in an accommodation allowance for the first month in Ireland, and a flight payment of up to €250.
For candidates coming from outside the EU, the subsidy includes a flight allowance of up to €800. Candidates are also entitled to top-up payments to cover other expenses – such as registration fees for regulatory bodies such as the Medical Council, visa charges and aptitude costs, as well as other levies.
A HSE spokesman said the “exact cost is dependent on where the candidate is relocating from, and the specialty of the post.”
It comes as the health service is trying to come up with ways to overcome difficulties in recruiting key staff to help reduce waiting lists and provide a full range of services.
Department of Health secretary-general Robert Watt told the Oireachtas Health Committee yesterday that the HSE “has developed and implemented a globally competitive relocation package to attract international recruits to the Irish health service”.
He said: “At this stage we expect the increase in whole-time equivalent (WTE, or full-time jobs) to be approximately 4,600 this year”.
“By the end of August, year-to-date staffing levels show a total growth of 2,600 WTE. All staff categories are showing growth year-to-date with the largest WTE increase seen in nursing and midwifery at more than 1,104.
“All nursing and midwifery graduates from the class of 2022 have and are being offered permanent opportunities within the Irish publicly funded health services.
“To supplement the national pool, the HSE has implemented a significant drive to source nurses and midwives from the international market.
“As you will have seen from recent research published by my department, we will have to dramatically increase the numbers of nurses and midwives we train in order to reduce our reliance on such international recruitment.
“This incremental increase has begun over the last three years, with an additional 344 undergraduate training places for nurses and midwives in place.
“The HSE has similarly directly targeted all of the health and social care professionals 2022 graduates from Irish colleges, and these applicants are being interviewed and will be offered jobs from October onwards. To supplement the national pool, international campaigns have been launched for dieticians, physiotherapists, and speech and language therapists.
“The Department of Health is working with the Department of Further and Higher Education to increase the number of these students in Irish colleges with an initial request for 10pc in this year and an increase of 50pc over a three-year period.”
He said recruitment capacity had been increased significantly within the Public Appointment Service to aid the recruitment of medical consultants, and the HSE was also developing targeted marketing initiatives to enhance the candidate pool.
In particular, the initiative focuses on ‘hard to fill’ posts.In particular, the initiative focuses on ‘hard to fill’ posts.
In recognition of the scale of global competition for healthcare talent, the HSE has developed and implemented a globally competitive relocation package to attract international recruits to the Irish health service.
He said that in common with other healthcare professions, the number of Irish and EU medical graduates we produce was currently far short of what was needed.
”We must meet the needs of the health service in the future. While we are making progress in recruitment and reform, we need to accelerate to meet emerging and increasing demand,” he added.